Gender policies and advertising and marketing practices that affect women’s health

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Gender policies and advertising and marketing practices that affect women’s health

Co-Action Publishing
  • Abortion
  • Public Policy
  • Gender Bias
  • Gender Studies
  • Pharmaceutical Advertising
  • Work-Family Reconciliation
  • Gender Awareness Communication Campaigns
  • Subclassr


Background: The three papers of this doctoral thesis are based on the social construction of reality through the analysis of communication relating to health issues. We have analysed the contents of parliamentary, institutional, and mass media to uncover whether their communications create, transmit, and perpetuate gender biases and/or stereotypes, which may have an impact on peoples’ health, with a particular focus on women.Objective: To analyse decision making and the creation of gender awareness policies and actions affecting women’s health: (1) political debates about abortion, (2) gender awareness communication campaigns and educational actions, and (3) pharmaceutical advertising strategies.Design: Quantitative and qualitative methods were employed, and the research included observational studies and systematic reviews. To apply a gender perspective, we used the level of gender observation proposed by S. Harding, which states that: (1) gender is the basis of social norms and (2) gender is one of the organisers of the social structure.Results: Sixty percentage of the bills concerning abortion introduced in the Spanish Parliament were initiated and led by pro-choice women’s groups. Seventy-nine percent of institutional initiatives aimed at promoting equality awareness and were in the form of educational actions, while unconventional advertising accounted for 6 percent. Both initiatives focused on occupational equality, and very few actions addressed issues such as shared responsibility or public policy. With regard to pharmaceutical advertising, similar traditional male female gender roles were used between 1975 and 2005.Conclusions: Gender sensitivity continues to be essential in changing the established gender system in Spanish institutions, which has a direct and indirect impact on health. Greater participation of women in public policy and decision-making are critical for women’s health, such as the issue of abortion. The predominance of women as the target group of institutional gender awareness campaigns proves that the gender perspective still lacks the promotion of shared responsibilities between men and women. There is a need for institutions that act as ‘policy watchdogs’ to control the gender biases in mass media and pharmaceutical marketing as well as to ensure the proper implementation and maintenance of Spanish equality laws.Keywords: abortion; public policy; work-family reconciliation; pharmaceutical advertising; gender awareness communication campaigns; gender bias(Published: 26 June 2013)This article has been commented on by Carlos Alvarez-Dardet. Read his commentary here.Citation: Glob Health Action 2013, 6: 20372 -

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