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Sex, Gender and Vulnerability

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Download PDF versionSnow, Rachel C. 2007. "Sex, Gender and Vulnerability." PSC Research Report No. 07-628. September 2007.

This paper is concerned with how sex chromosomes and gendered experience differentially contribute to health outcomes, and how gender effects provide an under- explored avenue for health intervention. Research on gender and health is currently undermined by conflation of sex and gender in much of the epidemiologic and clinical literature. This precludes any meaningful reflection on the extent to which our genetic blueprint, versus gendered socialisation, contributes to the specific health vulnerabilities of males or females. Drawing on the 2002 global DALYs for males and females, this paper looks at health outcomes that differentially affect males and females, and distinguishes between vulnerabilities linked to the XX or XY genotype, vulnerabilities due to gendered life experience, and vulnerabilities about which we understand relatively little. The paper highlights the dynamic and changeable nature of gendered health vulnerabilities. Given that gender-based risks are in principal amenable to social change, they offer untapped potential for health interventions.

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