Share this article:
International Women’s Day 2021: Choose to Challenge
Each year on March 8, International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated around the world to recognize achievements, address challenges, and honor women’s rights. First organized in 1908, it has been designated by the United Nations as an official observance since 1975, which was also recognized as International Women’s Year. Nearly 50 years later, the world has made significant advances for women’s rights across social, political, economic, and cultural spheres, but no country has yet to achieve full gender equality.
Over 2.7 billion women are restricted from accessing similar job choices available for men, and even once she is hired, a woman earns 23% less than her male counterpart on average. Even in world government, women make up only 24% of global parliamentarians. There is more progress to be made before we can reach the UN’s goal to achieve gender equality by 2030.
To recognize, highlight, and honor women’s achievements, especially as we adjust to living in a COVID-19 world, Elsevier presents a curated list of free access journal articles and book chapters. We #ChoosetoChallenge gender inequality and bias to help create a better world for women of today and tomorrow.
Click here to access the complete special issue collection, including an insightful podcast with award-winning Elsevier Editor, Dr. Marianne Legato on gender-specific medicine.
Featured Book Chapters Include:
How Sex and Gender Impact Clinical Practice
Chapter 15 – “Practice improvement through a sex and gender high-value healthcare model”
By Margaret Oliver, Haritha Pavuluri, Connor Brunson, and Marjorie R. Jenkins
The United States spends more on healthcare than any other country yet has worse health outcomes than many other peer nations. There is evidence that healthcare cost distress affects women disproportionately, though reasons are poorly understood. One way clinicians can help combat the epidemic of financial toxicity is through the practice of high-value care, an approach that aims to improve patient health and well-being by reducing the costs of care (e.g., through elimination of unnecessary procedures) and/or by improving patient outcomes. Adopting value-based principles will help clinicians improve the value of care provided while contributing to greater gender equity in healthcare. In addition, branding one’s practice with a sex- and gender-focused approach to care can increase volume of patients and patient satisfaction.
By adopting an intersectional approach as a framework, this chapter unpacks the gendered nature of economic dimensions of climate change and identifies that climate change needs to be seen as a pervasive economic issue impacting differently on men and women. Drawing on research conducted in Australia and overseas, this chapter explores the critical linkages between climate change, women, and economic development and argues that women’s voices, leadership, and decision-making are critical to economic development and sustainability.
Advances in Food Security and Sustainability: Volume 5
Chapter 2 – “Gender inequality and food insecurity: A dozen years after the food price crisis, rural women still bear the brunt of poverty and hunger”
By Hélène Botreau and Marc J. Cohen
The global food price crisis of 2007–08 had devastating impacts for the world’s poorest people, especially for smallholder farmers and in particular for women, who face discrimination and a heavy burden of household responsibility. The international policy response to the crisis saw the launch of numerous new initiatives and instruments, but funding has been insufficient, and policies have failed to address the structural deficiencies in the global food system. A dozen years on, in light of climate change and increased conflict, new policies are needed to reorient the food system so that it prioritizes smallholder communities, with a renewed focus on the needs and aspirations of women.
The concept of maternal immunization to prevent infectious diseases in the mother and infant during a period of increased vulnerability is supported by historical experience and small but carefully conducted studies of various viral and bacterial vaccines. Candidate vaccines for use in pregnant women should be minimally reactogenic, as well as immunogenic, and safe, and must undergo careful, prospective, longitudinal clinical studies to assure the safety and long-term effectiveness of this approach. The importance of candidate diseases that are targeted for maternal immunization should be documented and clinical studies should study clinical effectiveness and transplacental antibody transmission. Access to antenatal care and health education must be achieved if maternal immunization is to succeed as a disease prevention strategy.
Three Facets of Public Health and Paths to Improvements: Behavior, Culture, and Environment
Chapter 10 – “A woman’s (unpaid) work: Global perspectives on gender, healthcare, and caregiving”
Yara Asi and Cynthia Williams
Women make up most of the global unpaid labor force in healthcare, performing work worth trillions of dollars annually. However, this work often limits their personal and professional opportunities and perpetuates gender disparities. The outsized role of women caregivers is attributed to historical, cultural, and social perspectives on gender and caregiving that perpetuate the gender inequalities in unpaid care work. In this chapter, we analyze women in unpaid work considering two regions: The United States and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). We compare these regions along social, political, and historical contexts, including use of two vignettes. As a result of the comparisons, we make several key recommendations, framed by Bronfenbrenner’s ecological model, which include: (1) generating awareness for US women caregivers to receive compensation, and (2) developing the job industry to embrace women caregivers in MENA countries.
Gender differences in emotion experience and expression represent some of the most robust gender stereotypes worldwide. However, empirical support for these stereotypes is lacking, especially from research utilizing objective measures, such as neuroimaging methodologies. In this chapter, we review functional neuroimaging studies that have empirically tested for gender differences in the association between brain function and emotion processes (including perception, reactivity, regulation, and experience). We present evidence that there are gender differences in the neural mechanisms underlying emotion processes, and a likely interpretation is that males and females use different strategies during emotion processing, which may lead to gender differences in observed (or subjectively reported) processing of emotion (the emotion process). We discuss how these findings may offer insight into the mechanisms underlying gender differences in emotional behaviors, and outline a number of methodological factors that should be taken into consideration when interpreting this field of research.
Specialized cardiovascular care for women, delivered in “women’s heart programs” (WHPs) focus on the cardiovascular needs of women. This chapter reviews the historical background leading to their development, their structure and specialized areas of focus including referral criteria for unique cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors in women, and CVD disorders resulting in acute coronary syndromes (ACS) with pathophysiologies seen exclusively, and/or more commonly in women including spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD), myocardial infarction with nonobstructed coronary arteries (MINOCA), coronary microvascular dysfunction, and Takotsubo (stress) and pregnancy-related cardiomyopathies. The collaborative and multidisciplinary nature of WHPs is stressed, with key partners including those in obstetrics and gynecology, internal medicine, family medicine, maternal-fetal medicine, and cardiac rehabilitation specialists, specifically dieticians, physiotherapists, psychologists, and exercise physiologists. Finally, the roles of WHPs in education (clinical training programs and public awareness campaigns) and research in women with CVD are briefly discussed. The overarching goal of WHPs is to improve cardiovascular outcomes for women, through an enhanced awareness of sex-specific symptoms, cardiovascular risk factors, diagnoses, and treatments. Ultimately, successful achievement of reduction of glaring knowledge gaps in CVD care for women, with incorporation of evidence-based sex- and gender-specific cardiovascular guidelines into widespread and routine clinical practice, may reduce the need for these programs.