Amaro Cano M. Género e inequidades en salud desde el prisma de la bioética. [Gender and health inequities through the prism of bioethics.] Boletín SaluCo [Bulletin SaluCo] (Havana, Cuba) 2003; 2(1).

Objectives: To analyze inequities in health, focusing on gender and examining the issue through the prism of bioethics.

Methodology: Analytical and interpretive.

Results: Bioethics is a discipline that, under the umbrella of moral values, serves as a bridge between human beings and their social and natural environment. Inequities in health represent avoidable, unnecessary, and unjust inequalities. Inequity in health is therefore, above all, an ethical problem that must be discussed from the viewpoint of the theory of justice.

To study inequities in health, it is necessary to identify and measure inequalities. Yet, it is not sufficient simply to identify and describe such inequalities. It is necessary that society, and all stakeholders within the community, participate in an open, democratic, and engaged discussion, to reach conclusions about the prevention of inequalities. A dialogue should confront the injustice posed by inequities in the community. The discussion can take place on the national or local level. Actions to rectify the inequities will differ, depending on the level in which they occur. The community and local level comprises the political environment where inequities of a country as a whole first can be confronted.

The author begins with a definition of health inequities and how they are reflected in the case of women. An analysis of treatment provided to women throughout history emphasizes sexual and reproductive health,and refers to abuse, maltreatment, and violence. Neoliberal policies have created a special crisis, as they affect not only the economic level, with its associated inequalities, but also moral values, especially the sense of common purpose, honesty, and respect for the dignity of human beings. At the same time, this crisis has brought about a need to revitalize ethics.

Conclusions: Periods of crisis can usher in stages of dispiritedness but can also lead to reflection and insight. The outcomes depend on the attitudes that people and society adopt to confront such conditions. This moment could become opportune to reclaim the legitimate rights of women in all social situations, and to forge coherence between rhetoric and practice.

Copyright 2007 University of New Mexico