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Health Status of Aboriginal Women

In: Social Issues

Submitted By z2440
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This paper will explore the roles that gender and feminism plays alongside other determinants to affect the health status of Aboriginal Canadian women. Determinants of health refer to the circumstances in which people are born, live, grow, work, and age, that are responsible for most of the health inequalities that exist. Common determinants contributing to sub-par health status include: early child development, education, income, employment, social and physical environment, personal health practices and coping skills, access to health services, racism, and gender. These determinants work alongside Aboriginal-specific determinants like cultural identity, self-determination, and colonialism to create significant health discrepancies compared to non-Aboriginal Canadians. Aboriginal women are at an even greater disadvantage because of the role gender plays on top of the other determinants. The term gender refers to the socially constructed perceptions of feminine and masculine and is not to be confused with sex, which refers to the biological differences between men and women (Steckley and Letts 2010). While the two are different concepts, they are closely related and do influence each other because while biology may condition behaviour, it is in turn conditioned by the social environment (Halseth 2013). Health is also a social construct and issue, rather than simply a medical and technical problem associated with body parts and their functions. Because it is defined by and shaped in social, psychological, and economic environments and relationships, bodies and minds cannot be understood apart from their history and culture. As health is defined within social, economic, and physical environments where class, race, culture, age, location, and personal history are taken into account, women’s health is obviously constructed in ways that differ from men’s and...

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