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Reflective Journal 2 - HLPE1540

Rajvinder Kaur 2166200


Word count: 964

Gendered Health

This week we focused on gendered health. It was an interesting topic for me because Im interested in
the medical field, which pays a role in gendered health. This topic gave me a better insight into how
our gender influences our lifestyle and life expectancy. I began to have this realisation during our in
class task, which involved my classmates discussing their morning routines and determining if our
routines are gender specific or not. We established that females and males had a different morning
routine. For example, females were often noted having to take the contraceptive pill, put on a bra,
apply makeup and spending more time on their hair. In contrast males had a more simplified morning;
engaging in activities that were common to both males and females such as brushing their teeth and
changing their clothes.

After reading the passage about gender health from the book Second Opinion by John Germov, I was
given an even broader understanding of how the males and females differ from one another; not only
by routine but in health and disease. Diseases can be sex specific, for example, for females, ovarian
and cervical cancer are leading causes of death and for males prostate and testicular cancer are
leading causes of death (Germov 2014, p124). There are also diseases that arent sex dependent but
I was beginning to realise that health, disease and lifestyle can be influenced by gender and that a
divide does exist. It was also apparent that there were differences in disease progression.
Cardiovascular disease is prevalent for both sexes and is the leading cause of death for both sexes,
but it tends to occur in the later stages for females, whereas males develop cardiovascular disease
earlier on and tend to present with different symptoms (Germov 2014, p125). There is also a gender
disparity in life expectancy. Females have a higher life expectancy when compared to males (Germov
2014, p124). I was always aware that this difference was present but didnt realise it was that
significant; with a difference of about 5 years (Germov 2014, p124).
After I read the above reading I began to understand where the saying women get sick; men die
developed. Though not consistent throughout all aspects of health and disease, it does appear that
females have better health prospects and outlooks compared to males. There are many reasons why
this difference occurs. I can imagine that there is a genetic component; with many sex specific
diseases present due to males lacking the x chromosome. Furthermore, complex environmental
exposures and behaviours would affect health outcomes. Males are often thought of as the sex that
avoids seeking medical care, or at least not as often as females. This may be due to men having a
sense of pride and societal pressure to not engage with medical services. There are also differences
in risk taking behaviour. From my experience males also tend to engage in high risk activities such as
alcohol abuse and dangerous driving. This is not to say that females are immune to this behaviour
because I have personally witnessed females abusing alcohol. Lastly, I was interested to discover that
psychological distress is more common in females than males (Germov 2014, p125). Particularly,
females struggle with eating disorders and I can assume that societal pressures would play a
significant role in this. However, despite the higher rate of suffering from mental disease amongst
females, males die from suicide more frequently than women (Germov 2014, p125). After I read this I
instantly thought that that this may be because males might not be as willing to seek help when

suffering from a mental illness, compared to females, and are therefore more susceptible to a poorer
prognosis. Furthermore, men are less likely to discuss mental health issues with their friends when
compared to females (Germov 2014, p125).
I would lastly like to discuss the gender differences observed in domestic violence. Domestic violence
was an issue I came across when reading the text and I came to understand that in the US it is the
leading cause of injury amongst young females; especially to those females that are pregnant
(Germov 2014, p127). This came to me as a shock because I couldnt imagine how someone could
hurt another, let alone someone so vulnerable. It was interesting to note that violence was mostly
inflicted by a former partner instead of a stranger. The Womens Safety Surgery reported that 338,700
females were attacked and 180, 400 of these attacks were committed by the victims partner or former
partner (Germov 2014, p127). Following the readings in this area I began to think of preventive
measure we could take as a society and was pleased to recall that Australia came out with TV adds
such as violence against women: Australia says No which ran in 2004. This campaign brought
national awareness to this issue and in doing so should change behaviours in the long term.
Following the reading from Second Opinion and the accompanying workshop it gave be a broader
understand and knowledge about the issues that stem from gendered health. Research into these
differences may bring to light preventative strategies. For example, health services and information
that highlight that mental disease is not to be ashamed off and that it can affect both sexes, might
help to break down the stigma that is present in society against males seeking aid when suffering
from mental illness. There are many more examples and lessons to be taken away from this topic. It
is important to understand so that we can cater for gender differences as a society.
Bibliography
Germov, J. (2014). Second Opinion An Introduction to Health Sociology (5th ed.). South Melbourne:
Oxford University Press.
C
To score more highly, avoid generalizations and include all sources. You will also need to integrate
wider readings and more original and creative thought. Writing more succinctly will allow more space
to delve more deeply into topics
Jeff