Intersectionality, the welfare state and women’s health
Bryant, T. & Raphael, D.
This article applies intersectionality analysis to consider women’s health and well-being in Canada’s welfare state with attention to those occupying vulnerable social locations. Political and economic structures and processes associated with different forms of the welfare state are responsible for producing these vulnerabilities as they differentially distribute economic and social resources among the population. Inequities in these distributions create the social inequalities that act through the social determinants of health to spawn health inequalities. The liberal welfare state — with its dominant institution being the marketplace – has higher levels of these inequalities than social democratic and conservative welfare states with rather less public policy effort to reduce them. In addition, the acceptance of neoliberalism as a governing ideology has seen Canadian and other governments further reducing the State role in managing the economy and providing economic and social security to citizens. This has had particular implications for those occupying vulnerable social locations such that the intersectionality concept – combined with welfare state analysis — provides a lens which can both explain these social and health inequalities and suggest means to reduce them.