Role of Gender and Socioeconomic Inequality in Women's Health and Health Care: Evidences from India

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 16:45
Location: Hörsaal 10 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Suparna SHOME, Indian Statistical Institute, India
Manoranjan PAL, Indian Statistical Institute, India
We have just crossed the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – December 2015. The issue of maternal health is an important aspect of MDGs. It is time to take stocks of how far we have achieved so far as the health situation in India is concerned. If we faltered then why did we falter? Is it true that social and economic inequality is detrimental to the health of a society? Social inequality is likely to exist in a society, which is diverse, multicultural, overpopulated and undergoing rapid but unequal economic growth.

In India, women’s position varies a lot across regions. This is possibly due to unequal socio-cultural development, deep rooted norms and values. With few exceptions, India bears a strong patriarchy and this patriarchal structure and power unevenness in household decision actually limit women’s health and access to health care. The main focus of the study is to see the role of socio-economic and gender inequality in women’s health and health care in India using National Family Health Survey (2005-06), India data. Analyses are performed to examine the role of socio-economic and gender inequities in women’s health and health care.

Findings indicate that women’s higher decision making authority have a significant effect on lowering the health hazards like underweight and help in improving delivery care of the women. The analysis also confirmed the importance of education, wealth index, place of residence, regional variation, mass media and several dimensions of gender inequalities in explaining women’s health and health care.

In India, social and economic status, gender roles are all interlinked in the determination of women health and access to health care. Therefore attention should be given in designing policies and programs to reach to the appropriate social determinants for the equitable progress toward improved health and health care.