Women's Health in Canada: Critical Perspectives on Theory and Policy.


557 pages
Contains Bibliography
ISBN 978-0-8020-3939-2
DDC 613'.042440971




Edited by Marina Morrow, Olena Hankivsky, and Colleen Varcoe
Reviewed by Patricia Morley

Patricia Morley is a professor of English and Canadian Studies at
Concordia University, an associate fellow of the Simone de Beauvoir
Institute, and author of Margaret Laurence: The Long Journey Home.


This hefty volume makes an important contribution to a field that, in recent decades, has transformed practice and policy on women’s health. By 2004, life expectancy in Canada had increased to 78 years for men and 83 years for women, and women’s health had emerged as a distinct concept and discipline. This volume provides an extensive examination of important issues relating to women’s health, such as gender, race, ethnicity, and class.


The book is structured in four main sections that draw on contributions by 26 authors, whose university affiliations and specialties are listed after their names. In Part 1, “Locating Ourselves,” Marina Morrow reflects on the women’s health movement in Canada, an area Morrow finds has been neglected. She notes that the dominance of the medical and health sciences by male researchers and practitioners has resulted in a greater focus on the needs and concerns of men, and a general neglect of the way that social inequities affect health.


In Part 2, “Theory and Methods,” Olana Hankivsky addresses the need to rethink outdated strategies. She begins by showing that most research has tended to neglect sex, gender, and their interactions. However, an international movement begun some 30 years ago has raised awareness and encouraged governments to work toward advancing women’s equality in all areas of policy. Chaper Six, “Engendering Evidence” by Olena Hankivsky and Jane Friesen, supports earlier evidence that women’s health problems tend to have been neglected. Again, the evidence to support these allegations is very strong.


Part 3, “The Social Determinants of Health,” examines the politics of poverty, exclusion, and sex by a number of writers: Colleen Reid, Bilkis Vissandjée, Wilfreda Thurston, Alisha Appale, and Kamrun Nahar. Part 4, “Key Issues in Women’s Health,” addresses a number of issues including HIV-AIDS, breast cancer, the danger of hormone replacement therapies, and difficulties regarding relocating home care in Ontario.


Women’s Health in Canada is not intended for the casual reader. It would, however, be very useful to medical practitioners and senior nurses, and is highly recommended for the offices and libraries of these professionals.


“Women's Health in Canada: Critical Perspectives on Theory and Policy.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 17, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/28247.