The majority of immigrant women in Canada are born in countries where females are greatly disadvantaged, including countries in Asia, the Middle-East, and Africa. In these countries, girls are less likely to survive infancy and maintain health throughout childhood. Son preference may influence household decisions like food, schooling, and medical attention, resulting in nutritional and medical neglect of girls. It is unknown if the female disadvantage in one’s home country persists following immigration, and to what extent it may influence the health of young girls. My dissertation aim is to investigate gender-based differences in the health of Canadian-born infants and children by parental region of origin. I study differences in patterns of children’s health care, and examine variation for children whose parents may have greater English language ability, time since immigration, or by level of education. My dissertation is framed by intersectional theory, which is rooted in feminist perspectives, and seeks to understand how positionality by gender, ethnicity and immigration intersect to shape children’s health. I will apply gender-based analytic approaches to recognize differences between girls and boys within the host country and examine them against those found in the source country. The purpose of this study is an essential one for Canada, as we are home to one of most ethnically diverse immigrant populations in the world. Moreover, gender equity is hugely important to Canadians. Results may inform programs aimed at helping newcomer women and their babies.
Ariel Pulver is in the third year of her PhD in epidemiology at Dalla Lana School of Public Health and holds a CIHR Fredrick Banting Charles Best Doctoral Research Award. Ariel’s research explores the contribution and confluence of immigration, culture, and gender to the wellbeing of babies and young children. Ariel completed her MSc in epidemiology at Queen’s University and her Bachelor’s degree in psychology from McGill University.
Arjumand Siddiqi is an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto Dalla Lana School of Public Health and Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Dr. Siddiqi is interested in the role that societal conditions play in shaping inequities in population health and human development. In particular, her research utilizes a cross-national comparative perspective to understand the consequences of social welfare policies for inequalities in health and developmental outcomes. Areas of research include the influence of income inequality and social policies on inequities in schooling outcomes amongst the advanced market economies, and an emerging body of work to understand health inequities in Canada versus the United States. Dr. Siddiqi is formally a Junion Fellow and Associate Member of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research Program on Successful Societies. She was also a member of the World Health Organization’s Commission on Social Determinants of Health Knowledge Hub on Early Child Development, and has consulted to several international agencies including the World Bank and UNICEF. Dr. Siddiqi received her doctorate in Social Epidemiology from Harvard University.