Table of Contents

Handbook on Gender and Health

Handbook on Gender and Health

International Handbooks on Gender series

Edited by Jasmine Gideon

This Handbook brings together a groundbreaking collection of chapters that uses a gender lens to explore health, healthcare and health policy in both the Global South and North. Empirical evidence is drawn from a variety of different settings and points to the many ways in which the gendered dimensions of health have become reworked across the globe.

Chapter 9: Stigmatized, marginalized and overlooked: health, later life and gender in India and the United Kingdom

Penny Vera-Sanso

Subjects: development studies, family and gender policy, social policy and sociology, family and gender policy, health policy and economics


In challenging dominant discourses on older people as vulnerable and dependent, and their health as marked by frailty and decline, the author demonstrates that stereotypical understandings of what ‘the issues’ are for older people leaves them marginalized, stigmatized and overlooked. Taking the example of neoliberal Britain and alarmist discourses of the cost of Alzheimer’s, and neoliberal India where social provision for older people is negligible and the dominant discourse classes older people as the responsibility of families, stereotypical discourses on frailty, disability, dependence and isolation are shown to marginalize other perspectives, with the result that research into old age rights (or their lack) and into later life activity and mutual interdependence across generations are framed as policy objectives rather than empirical fact. This chapter demonstrates how a focus on what older people do, that is not predetermined by ageist thinking, produces a broader understanding of what determines health in later life.

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