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Soc Sci Med. 2014 Sep;117:25-33. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.07.018. Epub 2014 Jul 8.

The influence of gender equality policies on gender inequalities in health in Europe.

Author information

1
CIBER de Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Madrid, Spain; Health Information Systems Unit, Agència de Salut Pública de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain; Institut d'Investigació Biomèdica Sant Pau (IIB Sant Pau), Barcelona, Spain.
2
Interface Demography, Department of Sociology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium.
3
CIBER de Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Madrid, Spain; Health Information Systems Unit, Agència de Salut Pública de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain; Institut d'Investigació Biomèdica Sant Pau (IIB Sant Pau), Barcelona, Spain; Department of Experimental and Health Sciences, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain.
4
Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden; Centre for Epidemiology and Community Health, Stockholm County Council, Solna, Sweden.
5
Interface Demography, Department of Sociology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium; Health Inequalities Research Group (GREDS), Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain.
6
CIBER de Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Madrid, Spain; Health Information Systems Unit, Agència de Salut Pública de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain; Institut d'Investigació Biomèdica Sant Pau (IIB Sant Pau), Barcelona, Spain; Department of Experimental and Health Sciences, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain. Electronic address: cborrell@aspb.cat.

Abstract

Few studies have addressed the effect of gender policies on women's health and gender inequalities in health. This study aims to analyse the relationship between the orientation of public gender equality policies and gender inequalities in health in European countries, and whether this relationship is mediated by gender equality at country level or by other individual social determinants of health. A multilevel cross-sectional study was performed using individual-level data extracted from the European Social Survey 2010. The study sample consisted of 23,782 men and 28,655 women from 26 European countries. The dependent variable was self-perceived health. Individual independent variables were gender, age, immigrant status, educational level, partner status and employment status. The main contextual independent variable was a modification of Korpi's typology of family policy models (Dual-earner, Traditional-Central, Traditional-Southern, Market-oriented and Contradictory). Other contextual variables were the Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM), to measure country-level gender equality, and the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). For each country and country typology the prevalence of fair/poor health by gender was calculated and prevalence ratios (PR, women compared to men) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were computed. Multilevel robust Poisson regression models were fitted. Women had poorer self-perceived health than men in countries with traditional family policies (PR = 1.13, 95%CI: 1.07-1.21 in Traditional-Central and PR = 1.27, 95%CI: 1.19-1.35 in Traditional-Southern) and in Contradictory countries (PR = 1.08, 95%CI: 1.05-1.11). In multilevel models, only gender inequalities in Traditional-Southern countries were significantly higher than those in Dual-earner countries. Gender inequalities in self-perceived health were higher, women reporting worse self-perceived health than men, in countries with family policies that were less oriented to gender equality (especially in the Traditional-Southern country-group). This was partially explained by gender inequalities in the individual social determinants of health but not by GEM or GDP.

KEYWORDS:

Europe; Gender equality; Gender policies; Self-perceived health

PMID:
25036013
DOI:
10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.07.018
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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