Skip to content

Gender and Health

Course Number
5100 (Social and Behavioural Health Science)
Course Instructor(s)
Janice Du Mont

Course Description

This graduate seminar serves as the core course for the Collaborative Specialization in Women’s Health. Enrolment is limited to 16 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 enrolment 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 historical summary of the women’s health movement within the context of dominant medical discourse and practice. This is followed by an overview of sex and gender and their importance to health research and health promotion. Subsequent lectures focus on theories (e.g., feminism, intersectionality, masculinities, critical disability, biomedicalization, Foucault) that have interrupted the dominant view and contributed to new understandings of women and their bodies, and methodologies that are cutting edge (e.g., Indigenous arts-based approaches, story-telling), as applied to better understanding local and global health issues (e.g., LGBTQ+ health, mental health, autoimmune disorders, HIV, body image, and gender-based violence).

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

In 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).

Methods of Assessment

Participation 15%
Class Reflection Paper 10%
Presentation 25%
Presentation Reflection Paper 10%
Clinical Guideline, Policy Brief, or Research Brief 40%