Sex-based inequalities in life expectancy and quality due to heart disease are repeatedly described, but how gender and social structure play roles in this phenomenon are unclear. Women and men can equally benefit from secondary prevention/cardiac rehabilitation, and there is a need to understand gender barriers to uptake.
A new review of qualitative studies on the issue found that despite the abundance of social theories of gender, few papers have specified a definition or theoretical position on gender.
"Gender is frequently treated as a demographic variable or a property of an individual, not as the relational concept feminists intended it to be. Researchers then assume that men's or women's views are the result of gender, but overlook the social, material, or institutional circumstances that contextualize and shape these meanings," said Dr. Jan Angus, lead author of the Journal of Advanced Nursing review. "Without conceptual clarity about the social origins of gender, we miss important analytic steps."
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