Gender Perspectives Required to Interpret Health Data
The research project “Economic and health impacts of non-communicable diseases in women in Mexico,” of the Mexican Institute of Public Health’s (INSP) and the George Institute for Global Health of Australia is studying the importance of gender perspectives in data to reduce health casualties and inequalities.
Financed by AMIIF, the three-year project will use a mixed methodological approach. The research team aims to study, from a gender perspective, how the economic and health burden generated by noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) differs between men and women in Mexico. In particular, researchers will seek to quantify the economic and health impact attributable to these diseases and deepen the analysis of the circumstances that shape their prevalence, emphasizing gender roles, beliefs, attitudes and socially constructed stereotypes that contribute to inequalities in health.
The George Institute for Global Health’s alliance with the INSP constitutes “a strategic association enriched by extensive international experience in equity and health systems, with a significant involvement of those who participate,” said Robyn Norton, Co-Founder. The Institute aims to improve the health of millions of people worldwide, particularly those living in disadvantaged circumstances.
Gender can influence a person’s experiences of crises and emergency situations, their exposure to diseases and their access to healthcare, water, hygiene and sanitation. Gender inequality disproportionately affects women and girls, who face high risks of unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, cervical cancer, malnutrition and depression. Gender inequality also poses barriers for women and girls to access health information and critical services, including restrictions on mobility, lack of decision-making autonomy, limited access to finances, lower literacy rates and discriminatory attitudes from healthcare providers.
In regards to gender indicators for health, Mexico’s maternal mortality has improved from 55 deaths per 100,000 births in 2000 to 33 in 2017, says the World Bank. Maternal mortality, defined as the number of women who die from pregnancy-related causes while pregnant or within 42 days of partum, in Mexico is lower than the regional average.
In the country, the rate of teenage pregnancy has decreased since 2010. In 2019, 59 of every 1,000 girls between the ages of 15 and 19 gave birth. Women spend 2.5 times as much time on unpaid domestic and care work than men. In 2019, women in Mexico spent 27.8 percent of their day in unpaid domestic and care work, while men spent 11.1 percent.
With this initiative, AMIIF expects to generate useful evidence, identify key issues for research and support public policy recommendations for the generation of cost-effective interventions with a gender perspective. “The researchers hope that the results will inform the academic community, decision makers and civil society organizations on the design and implementation of policies and programs aimed at improving the prevention, management and treatment of NCDs in Mexico,” said the association on a press release.