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Alaka Malwade Basu (2000)

Gender in Population Research: Confusing Implications for Health Policy*

In: Zeitschrift für Bevölkerungswissenschaft, Vol. 25, 3-4/2000, p. 513-530, Opladen: Verlag Leske + Budrich, ISSN: 0340-2398

In this paper I discuss some of the health policy implications of an increasing trend in population research and in its interpretation and presentation – a trend to ‘political correctness’ – defined not in the popular, often derogatory, sense, but as an ideological commitment to certain principles. For one of these commitments, that to the notion of gender equality, greater strength and legitimacy is today commonly sought by tying it to other less controversial goals such as that of better health. But straining for connections between gender equality and positive health outcomes often unduly constrains the research question, the research methods, and the interpretation of the research. When health policy seeks guidance from this research, it can receive signals which are too often incomplete, silent on the many trade-offs of specific policy measures, and, ultimately, perhaps even detrimental to the very goals of gender equity and social justice from which they are derived. Examples of all these possibilities are discussed.

* Original title: Die Geschlechterfrage in der Bevölkerungsforschung: Verwirrung über die Implikationen für die Gesundheitspolitik (full text in German only)

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