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More than a Women’s issue? Gender, Health, and Human Rights

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We will grapple with some of the following questions: What defines ‘human rights’ and ‘health’? Do, and should, these definitions vary across place and time? How is health gendered? In what ways do human rights influence health? Are the issues that have garnered the most attention in the fields of human rights and women’s health really the most pressing issues?  To what extent does heterosexism shape our understandings of human rights and health? How does women’s health relate to the health of other populations or the population more broadly? We will explore the role of national and international institutions, such as federal governments and the World Health Organization that address the link between gender, health and human rights.
In the second semester, we explore how these “global” issues are reflected in our own community. Students will identify key issues at the local level that exemplify the complex link between gender, health and human rights As a group, students will apply their evolving knowledge to design and complete a class project that aims to effect change at the community level. Students will then develop a report that will be distributed to interested parties such as community members, health care providers, non-profit organizations and local policy-makers.

Megan M. Reynolds PhD -Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology at the University of Utah

She teaches classes in social inequality, social structure, social statistics and longitudinal methods. Her research examines health and health inequalities in order to understand processes of stratification and their consequences. She is particularly interested in the role of power and politics in influencing population health and in how gender and ethnicity condition the health of various immigrant groups. She has published work in Social Forces, Journal of Health and Social Behavior and Gender in Management. She holds an MA in Applied Sociology from the University of Massachusetts-Boston and a PhD in Sociology from Duke University.

Claudia Geist, PhD – Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and Gender Studies Program

Claudia Geist received her PhD in Sociology from Indiana University, after completing her undergraduate education at the University of Mannheim, Germany. Before joining the faculty of the University of Utah in 2010 she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She teaches courses on Gender and Contemporary Issues, gender inequality (“The Price of Gender”) as well as graduate level statistics. Her research is at the intersection of inequality, gender, and family, and often employs a comparative perspective. She has published a book on Americans’ definitions of family and attitudes towards same-sex couples, and written articles on topics ranging from the domestic division of labor to attitudes about name change after marriage. She is particularly interested in how sex, gender, and sexuality shape inequality in contemporary societies.

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