[The importance of the gender perspective in health interview surveys]

Gac Sanit. 2000 Mar-Apr;14(2):146-55. doi: 10.1016/s0213-9111(00)71448-8.
[Article in Spanish]


The identification and measurement of the population health needs should be the first step in health planning. In order to guarantee equity criteria, to know the situation of the whole population, and therefore also that of women, is a key issue. Health interview surveys are a good tool for pinpointing the needs of the population, but mainly they are usually focused on health risk factors that explain men's health status such as health behaviours and paid job. These factors often fail to capture aspects that are relevant for women's health, such as household work. The main objective of this paper is to emphasise the importance of a gender perspective in the design and analysis of health interview surveys, and to propose variables that should be included in health surveys in order to better know gender health inequalities. Likewise, this article deals with the gender concept and its importance as a health inequality factor. Gender is an analytical construct based on the social organisation of the sexes that can be used to better understand the conditions and factors influencing women's and men's health beginning by the social roles that each culture and society assigns to people based on their sex. Health is a complex process determined by a wide range of factors: biological, social, environmental and health services related factors. Gender, because of its close relation to all of them, plays a key role. The gender approach is characterised by the analysis of the social relation between men and women, taking into account that sex is a determinant of social inequalities. This paper presents the variables that health interview surveys should include from a gender approach point of view: reproductive work, productive work, social class, social support, self-perceived health status, quality of life, mental health and chronic conditions. In addition, issues related to the wording of questions, data collection and analysis are discussed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Health Surveys*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sex Factors*
  • Spain
  • Women's Health