Gender-Sensitive Health Literacy

Gender-Sensitive Health Literacy
A Future Concept for Public Health?

Over the last 20 years, the concept of health literacy has become increasingly prominent both in science and politics. Health literacy denotes the ability of an individual to get access to health information, to understand and appraise this information as well as to transfer this knowledge into health-promoting actions. These capabilities are getting more and more important for making healthy choices within an increasingly complex health care system.

Studies have shown that health literacy of a person is an important indicator for his or her general state of health – and yet, more than half of the population show a problematic level of health literacy. Particularly affected are persons with a low level of education, at high age, and with a migrant background. 

Health literacy and health-related behavior also show sex- and gender-related characteristics. Apart from differences in prevalence and types of diseases and symptoms, there are distinctions in the evaluation and utilization of preventive health examination, nutrition and lifestyle, in the perception of the own body, as well as in dealing with health information and risk behavior. While these dissimilarities become apparent in the expression and perception of symptoms, and in preferences and expectations regarding therapeutic strategies, medical science and care have not yet taken these variances into account adequately. As a result, gender-related inequalities lead to under-, over-, and misprovision of health services.

At the international conference “Gender-Sensitive Health Literacy – A Future Concept for Public Health?” hosted by ceres, internationally renowned experts in science, health policy, medicine and society discussed the topics of gender and health literacy. They highlighted existing challenges regarding gender equality, health literacy and healthcare provision, and developed solutions for the future development of a gender-sensitive and just health care system.

The event was co-hosted by the Vice Dean’s office of Academic Development and Gender of the Medical Faculty of the University of Cologne and the department of Medical Psychology | Neuropsychology and Gender Studies of the University Hospital Cologne.

Date
October 27th, 2016

Time
9.30 a.m. – 5.00 p.m.

Location
Amélie Thyssen Auditorium
Fritz Thyssen Stiftung
Apostelnkloster 13-15
50672 Köln

Funded by the University of Cologne