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Flashcards in Gender and Ethnicity Deck (20)
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Define Sex

Biological and physiological characteristics that are used to categorise people as male or female


Define Gender

Socially constructed roles, behaviour, activities and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for males and females


Define heteronormativity

Society's assumption that relationships between the opposite binary sex are the norm or default. 


Define gender identity

Internal sense of one's own gender


Define sexual orientation

A person's physical, romantic, emotional or other form of attraction to others


Define transgender

Umbrella term for people whose gender identity differs from the sex/gender they were assigned at birth. 


What are the key differences between the health of men and women?

  • Women have a higher life expectancy than men but men live a greater portion of their live in good health .
  • Death rates for males are higher at all stages of the lifecourse.
  • Mental illness rates are higher amongst women. 


What are the biological explanations for the health inequalities between men and women?

  • Boys more vulnerable in infancy
  • Immune system differences
  • Hormonal differences
  • Cardiovascular reactivity
  • Neuroendocrine responses


Describe the patterns of health behaviour between men and women that may explain health inequalities


  • Higher rates of smoking
  • Higher alcohol consumption and higher rates of hospital admissions for alcohol abuse
  • Strong association between alcohol consumption, depresion and suicide in men


  • Lower smoking rates than men but increased difficulty quitting


Explain how gender roles and exposures can explain health inequalities between men and women

Men may used 'masculine sanctioned' coping behaviour to relieve stress despite damaging consequences (e.g. drinking)

  • Health related behaviours a way for men to demonstrate masculinity

Men more likely to suffer accidents at work due to exposure (driving, manual labour etc)

Caring often portrayed as women's work: caring profession associated with poor mental health. 



Explain how gender roles and exposure can explain the health inequalities between men and women in terms of health access

Women more likely to visit GP, men often do not go at all.

CVD seen as a male disease: women may be treated inadequately.

  • Differences in symptoms:
    • Women less likely to experience chest pain: patient and doctors less likely to recognise symptoms as can be confused with other less harmful conditions. 

Depression/anxiety seen as a women's disease: men may not be treated adequately.

Breast cancer: rare in men but lower survival rates.



Define Race

Historical term used to argue the existence of inherent biological differences between populations.

Discredited term: populations are genetically more similar than different. 


Define ethnicity

No reference to biological/genetic traits. 

A group with a long shared history that the group views as distinguishable from other groups and the memory of which keeps it alive. 

A cultural tradition of its own, including family and social customs and manners, not necessarily related to religion. 


What are the key health inequalities between ethnic groups?

Ethnic minority groups more likely to have poor health than white majority population. 

  • Poorer self-reported health
  • Higher infant mortality


  • 6x higher in south Asian population than white population
  • Likely to develop T2DM 10 years earlier.
  • Afro-caribbean population 3x more likely. 



What are the genetic/biological explanations for health inequalities between ethnic groups?

Based on the notion of genetic homogeneity, based on outdated concept of race.

  • Genes and biology cannot explain all differences in health. 
  • Some congenital anomalies and haemoglobinopathies strongly influenced by genes but ethnicity is not always useful in identifying at risk groups.


What are the migratory explanations for health inequalities amongst ethnic groups?

Migrants selected by health characteristics: generally have better health than those in country of origin. 

Health tends to revert however, back to that of their country of origin which leads to a relative decline in health compared to health in the country of destination.

Stressful experience of migration and resettling.

'Salmon bias': those returning home when ill may reduce mortality rate of migrant populations artificially.


What are the health behaviour and cultural explanations of health inequalities between ethnic groups?

'Asian rickets' caused by deficient south Asian diet

High ghee content of some Asian foods

However these are often victim-blaming explanations.

Diverse range of health behaviours and cultures amongst ethnic minority groups. 


How can social deprivation be used to explain health inequalities between ethnic groups?

Ethnic inequalities reflect the broad patterning of economic inequality amongst ethnic groups.

Socio-economics found to be most important factors in health inequalities. Ethnic minorities more likely to be in low socio-economic groups:

  • Poor access to healthcare, education, housing, food, exercise etc.
  • More likely to live in deprived neighbourhoods
  • More likely to be unemployed
  • More likely to experience racism 


Define the different types of racism

Direct racism: people treated less favourably due to their ethnicity or religion

Indirect racism: people unaware that their actions are undermining the position of people from ethnic minority groups.

Institutional racism: collective failure of an institution/organisation to provide an appropriate professional service to people becuase of their culture or ethnic origin. 


How is racism related to health?

Direct experiences of racism can lead to health inequality:

  • Stress and fear directly linked to poorer health. 

Indirect experiences of health can lead to fear of racism which can lead to stress which has a negative impact on health.