Gender, health and ageing
Gender and health information sheet
The basic diseases which afflict older men and women are the same: cardiovascular diseases, cancers, musculoskeletal problems, diabetes, mental illnesses, sensory impairments, incontinence, and – especially in poorer parts of the world – infectious diseases and their sequelae. However, rates, trends, and specific types of these diseases differ between women and men. Perhaps more importantly, the gender picture of a given society – the complex pattern of roles, responsibilities, norms, values, freedoms, and limitations that define what is thought of as “masculine” and “feminine” in a given time and place – has a great bearing on the health of the aged.