Sociological Perspectives on Sex and Gender

Many institutions are gendered just like social groups and individual people are. Gender is found in ideologies, distribution of power, processes, images, and practices in multiple facets of social life. A gendered institution refers to the whole pattern of relationships in gender, such as interpersonal relations, stereotypical expectations, and women’s and men’s different placements in political economic and social hierarchies.

Healthcare is a gendered institution which indicates that it adopted the characteristics that are linked to masculinity. The ideology, organization, and structure of medical care show gendered meanings and relationships. The healthcare system is an institution with the highest number of female physicians compared to the past.

Additionally, the number of women has increased in the medical field as most of them enroll as students in medical schools. Females have a higher likelihood of being clients than men because they utilize the healthcare system more. For instance, the female sex is more likely to seek hospital admissions, physician visits, and drug prescriptions than men.

However, according to Paulsen, there is persistent gender bias experienced in patient care as females receive a lower quality of evidence-based care than men due to their gender. Females comprise 75 percent of the total number of health workers, but they are segregated within the field. They often occupy poorly paid and least prestigious positions in the medical field.

Although women’s gains as medical doctors have increasingly become positive, most women work as dietitians, aides, and nurses. Female nurses are not affected by the challenge of existing in a male-dominated field like women physicians. Hispanic and African-American females occupy the lowest paying jobs in medical care.

Social status and race affect a person’s physical health, capability to receive sufficient nutrition and medical care, and life expectancy. Ethnic and racial minorities have access to lower quality of medical care as opposed to non-minorities.

For instance, race affects nurses as women of color in healthcare face the problems of discrimination and racism, hampering their career development. Patients who come from minority communities experience higher mortality and morbidity from different chronic diseases.

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