Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

POPLHLTH 761 - Special Topic: Women, Gender and Health

15 Points

Semester 2, 2020


Examines gender as a social determinant of health and explores the links between inequality, social structures and women’s health. Covers critical theories of women’s health drawing on feminism, sociology, law and politics, human rights and cultural studies. Violence, HIV/AIDS, disability, abortion, new reproductive technologies, infertility, NCDs, occupational health, migrant health, and the role of men are analysed using gender frameworks.

Course aims

Goals of the course

Women, Gender and Health aims to provide students with an advanced understanding of the socio-political systems that influence women’s health and wellbeing, i.e., a critical gender determinants focus. The course both theorizes inequality and offers skills development in applied areas of gender and health, such as gender health research and grassroots advocacy and practice. As such, the course advances health intervention for women ‘upstream’, at multi-sectoral and multi-scalar levels. It will draw on New Zealand and international case studies.


Learning outcomes 

On completing the course, students will be able to:

• Distinguish between gender difference and gender inequality in women’s health outcomes

• Apply critical gender theories to specific health issues

• Appreciate and apply intersectional lenses for studying women’s health

• Understand the complexities of gender relations at a socio-structural, economic and cultural and how they act as barriers to women’s health and wellbeing

• Understand the policy contexts and politics of women’s health

• Analyse multiple forms of gender-data to assess women’s health and well-being

• Critically appraise public health responses to women’s health needs

• Design research projects in health from a gender-feminist perspective

• Conceptualise community-based action for women’s health and wellbeing 

• Analyse multiple forms of gender-data to assess women’s health

Programme and course advice

This course may be taken towards a public health, health sciences, arts or medical science programme and is a recommended course for the Health Promotion specialisation in the Postgraduate Certificate in Public Health.

A background or experience in health and social science is advantageous.

Learning and teaching

The course is delivered in 4 full day sessions at the School of Population Health, Tāmaki Campus in a workshop interactive format. Invited speakers will also contribute their experience. The learning format involves both individual and group work.


Course outline

The course comprises four full-day blocks.

Day 1: Focus on gender theories of health

Day 2: Engendering health knowledges

Day 3: Politics of Women’s Health

Day 4: Engendering Public Health Policy


Campus teaching dates 

This course is held at Tāmaki Campus. Please see your timetable on SSO or Building 730 Reception noticeboard on the day for the room details.


Learning resources 

Students are provided access to online course pages in CANVAS which is the University’s online Learning Management System. These pages give the course outline, objectives for each session and recommended reading. All PowerPoint presentations and additional course materials are available through CANVAS.

Students are, however, encouraged to read much more widely in preparing assignments on specific topic areas. A list of useful journals and websites will be provided during the course, and students are encouraged to seek assistance when required from the campus librarians.


The course assessment will consist of four internally assessed components:

(1) Critical Reviews (4x12.5% each, total 50%) of selected readings throughout the semester (approximately 1250 words each)

(2) End of term research proposal/paper with three components:

a. Draft proposal, 5%, half a page

b. Presentation of proposal, 5%

c. Final proposal/term paper, 30%, 2500-3000 words.

(3) Class engagement (10%) comprising a portfolio of participation activities.

Course Director

Course Administrator