Updated: Sep 27, 2020
Lately, some empirical studies have suggested that gender inequity increases the #men's health risks. #Gender inequity refers to unequal treatment or perception of individuals based on their gender roles. These differences cause unequal power relations and help men to overwhelmingly benefit.
However, there is an increasing number of studies that support the idea of gender equity being a potential contributor to men’s health risks.
#Patriarchy is a concept that links gender inequity with men's health. It can be defined as a system of social structure, and practices in which men dominate, oppress and exploit women. This structure serves to provide men with a range of benefits including higher social status, greater access to economic wealth, and an increased ability to attain political power. The benefits have been referred to as the ‘patriarchal dividend’.
The impacts of patriarchy in men are complex. Its benefits are unequally shared between them according to social status. For some men, especially those in lower social positions, the benefits may be limited. Patriarchy also constrains men’s social experience. Within the household, it serves to divide labour so men have reduced engagement in housework and childcare. The most developed theoretical approach for explaining how gender inequity impacts on men’s health are masculinities and health theory.
Gender inequity can impact on men’s psychosocial and emotional experiences by limiting social roles. For example, men who take on household management and childcare facilitate communication and
improve relationship quality and emotional support. Expanded roles also increase opportunities to experience success and build self-confidence as well as make possible the development of greater self-complexity. Conversely, having reduced social roles puts a limit on men’s assessment of self-worth. It also increases the negative effects of failure in the economic role.
In addition to the effects of multiple roles, gender inequity can impact on men’s psychosocial and emotional experiences through the influence of gender ideals. The dominant masculinities impose restrictive expectations on men, which leave little space for validating their lived experience.
This serves as an ongoing threat to men’s self-esteem and can be most acutely felt by those who do not receive the expected rewards of the social system; such as men who do not identify as heterosexual and men who have subordinate racial or ethnic positions. Gender inequity together with the ruling and dominant ideals are authoritarian belief systems. Those who do not conform can suffer discrimination, punishment, ridicule and even violence for failing to engage in traditional behaviour.
Overall, the findings suggest the extent of gender inequity in the psychosocial environment can emphasize the negative health effects on men.