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Exploring issues in women's health
Exploring issues in women's health

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2 Exploring the social model

Being a man or a woman has a significant impact on health, as a result of both biological and gender-related differences. The health of women and girls is of particular concern because, in many societies, they are disadvantaged by discrimination rooted in sociocultural factors.

(World Health Organization, 2019)

It is clearly important to focus on women’s health and to address the sociocultural issues that prevent women from attaining the best possible level of health. Additionally, as you will know, women lead complex lives and, if they become unwell, some will have aspirations that go beyond what a ‘biomedical fix’ can offer. But what might an alternative model of health look like? You will begin to explore this by considering challenges to health and wellbeing that are beyond the reach of biomedicine. In this section, you will consider how lay knowledge – that of women who are not medical or healthcare professionals – takes a more central, and even vital, role in the social model.

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Figure 1 Health: this is important for women across the lifespan.