What Makes Women Sick: Gender and the Political Economy of Health

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Rutgers University Press, 1995 - Social Science - 280 pages
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What makes women sick? To an Ecuadorean woman, it's nervios from constant worry about her children's illnesses. To a woman working in a New Mexico electronics factory, it's the solvents that leave her with a form of dementia. To a Ugandan woman, it's HIV from her husband's sleeping with the widow of an AIDS patient. To a Bangladeshi woman, it's a fatal infection following an IUD insertion. What they all share is a recognition that their sickness is somehow caused by situations they face every day at home and at work.

In this clearly written and compelling book, Lesley Doyal investigates the effects of social, economic, and cultural conditions on women's health. The "fault line" of gender that continues to divide all societies has, Doyal demonstrates, profound and pervasive consequences for the health of women throughout the world. Her broad synthesis highlights variations between men and women in patterns of health and illness, and it identifies inequalities in medical care that separate groups of women from each other. Doyal's wide-ranging arguments, her wealth of data, her use of women's voices from many cultures--and her examples of women mobilizing to find their own solutions--make this book required reading for everyone concerned with women's health.

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