Gender and Health

Course Number
5100 (Social and Behavioural Health Science)
Course Syllabus
View Syllabus
Course Instructor(s)
Janice Du Mont, Robin Mason

Course Description

This graduate seminar serves as the core course for the Collaborative Specialization in Women’s Health. Enrollment is limited to 20 doctoral and master’s students. Dalla Lana School of Public Health students not enrolled in the Collaborative Specialization may take this course up to the limit of enrollment and by permission of the instructors.

In this course, we will examine women’s health issues from multiple standpoints, theories, and methods, drawing upon perspectives from the social sciences, humanities, and sciences. Students will have the opportunity to meet and engage with subject experts from across the University and beyond. Together, we will investigate, interrogate, and critique research and research methodologies related to specific health issues experienced primarily by women1. Through dialogue and debate, critical thinking skills will be enhanced as dominant lines of scholarship and innovative methodologies are considered across disciplinary domains and epistemologies.

This course begins with an overview of sex and gender and their importance to health research. This will be followed by a historical summary of the women’s health movement within the context of dominant medical discourse and practice. Subsequent classes will focus on theories (e.g., feminism, postmodernism, intersectionality, critical disability, masculinities) that have interrupted the dominant view and contributed to new understandings of women and their bodies, as well as Indigenous and other cutting-edge methodologies (e.g., concept mapping; story-making; digital, visual, and sensory) as applied to better understanding women’s health issues (e.g., violence against women, mental health, HIV, autoimmune disorders, and body image).

Course Objectives

To expose students to a range of:

  • theoretical frameworks
  • research methods
  • women’s health issues

To stimulate critical thinking about:

  • sex and gender within the realm of women’s health
  • the impact of social constructions and intersecting identities on  women’s bodies
  • various research methods as applied to different women’s health issues
  • the value of bringing multiple perspectives to bear on the same research question

To foster:

  • skills in analysis and synthesis of diverse research perspectives
  • interdisciplinary dialogue and debate
  • collaboration

methods of assessment

Participation: 15%
Seminar Presentation and Reflection Paper: 35%
Review Paper: 50%

1In this course “women” refers to a broad gender categorization that does not necessarily correlate with sex assigned at birth. The term includes all those who self-identify as women, including cisgender women, transgender women, intersex women, and two-spirited women (Castaldi, 2015).