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Thalassemic Women’s Biographical Trajectory: Retracing Gender Inequalities in Health Policies

Underserved and Socially Disadvantaged Groups and Linkages with Health and Health Care Differentials

ISBN: 978-1-83867-055-9, eISBN: 978-1-83867-054-2

ISSN: 0275-4959

Publication date: 30 August 2019

Abstract

Purpose

Scientific reductionism has made sure that the biological phenomena were abstracted from the social and cultural contexts in which they occur. As a result, institutions of medicine and patient care processes have not taken into account the social and cultural determinants of the illness, therefore concealing a Western and masculine norm. Only recently, gender studies have managed to claim importance of the gender in the process of medical practices capable of dealing with diverse health cultures.

This chapter proposes further reflections on gender inequalities in health policy for the care and management of thalassemia, taking into account of the differences in health needs, and gendered experience and meanings of illness. It will analyze the medicalization of the female body in the thalassemia experience.

Methodology/Approach

Qualitative data for this study came from the biographical narratives of 10 thalassemic women in the care of the Polyclinic of Messina (Italy).

Findings

The analysis will highlight an inequality between men and women not only in the degree and modes of medicalization of the bodies but also in the incorporation of an imagination that encages the woman in the necessary role of wife and mother, making the illness an experience particularly dolorous.

Research Limitations/Implications

These findings can help shape health policies in the cure of thalassemia, which take into account gender differences as an indispensable element in the compliance with the therapeutic process.

Originality/Value of Paper

They report on the urgency to deconstruct the social imagination according to which a woman is a “real” woman only if she is also a mother.

Keywords

Citation

Raffa, V. (2019), "Thalassemic Women’s Biographical Trajectory: Retracing Gender Inequalities in Health Policies", Underserved and Socially Disadvantaged Groups and Linkages with Health and Health Care Differentials (Research in the Sociology of Health Care, Vol. 37), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 189-201. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0275-495920190000037014

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019 Emerald Publishing Limited