Addressing Gender Disparities in Health: Understanding the Causes

by Ella

A recent analysis published in The Lancet Public Health highlights the persistent gap in health outcomes between men and women across various diseases. Despite decades of research, this divide remains largely unchanged, prompting a deeper exploration into the underlying causes.


Biological and Social Factors:

The differences in disease prevalence between men and women often emerge during adolescence. While biological factors such as hormonal fluctuations and skeletal differences contribute, social constructs of gender also play a significant role.


Sex vs. Gender:

Sex refers to biological attributes, while gender encompasses socially constructed roles and power dynamics within society. Gender norms and biases influence healthcare systems, leading to disparities in diagnosis and treatment.


Challenges in Healthcare:

Women frequently face dismissal and undertreatment for conditions like lower back pain, attributed to biases in healthcare settings. The triple burden of work, household responsibilities, and caregiving further impedes access to appropriate care.


Persistent Disparities:

Comparing data from 1990 to 2021 reveals a concerning trend: while some conditions have seen improvement over time, the gap between males and females remains unchanged. Women’s health, often centered around reproductive issues, receives inadequate attention.

Closing the Gap:

Collecting comprehensive health data categorized by sex and gender is crucial for targeted interventions. The COVID-19 pandemic underscores the importance of such data in addressing health disparities effectively.


Governments should allocate resources to address the specific health needs of both genders.
Mental health, an underfunded area, requires increased investment, especially given its disproportionate impact on women.
Healthcare systems must address biases and provide equitable access to diagnosis and treatment for all genders.
By understanding the complex interplay of biological and social factors, policymakers and healthcare professionals can work towards closing the gender gap in health outcomes and ensuring equitable healthcare for all.


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