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Disparities in Female Health Care

This guide aims to address the gaps in medical research that contribute to female health disparity

Feminist Theory in Clinical Practice

Feminist theory offers an approach to address disparities in care:

  • Measurements of dissatisfaction do not appropriately capture the full range of the patient's feelings after experiencing issues in the healthcare system, and a model of "personal identity threat" should be considered instead (Coyle, 1999).
  • Social theory perspectives like feminism  may be better equipped to study how a patient's social identity affects their experiences with health care.
  • Patients do not stop being people once they cross the hospital doors.

Feminist critiques can help health professionals understand the female experience in health care and begin to address problems.

Howard J. Miller

Searching the Literature

While there is some discussion of feminist theory in health care in some health science resources, sociological databases may have more of the full literature to review, because feminism is a sociological theory. Listed below are some search terms to start your research as well as some example searches that you can use directly by following the links.

Keyword Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) Notes
Feminism Feminism  
Feminist N/A Searching with the single word "feminist" will return results that include multiple key phrases like "feminist theory", "feminist perspective", and "feminist ethics".

Community health           

Public Health        Community health is used to refer to health care services delivered outside of a hospital or clinic.
Public health Public Health You can specify your results to geographical location ("United States" or "Pennsylvania") to focus on public health policies of interest.
Clinical care Delivery of Health Care While a MeSH terms is available, it may be more beneficial to start with using clinical care as key words in your search and use MeSH if you need help further narrowing your search.
Health care Delivery of Health Care                    "Health care" refers to the medical care received by patients while "healthcare" as one word is used to discuss the healthcare system.
Example Searches

Click on the highlighted links to see the search or copy and paste this search into the suggested database.

CINAHL: feminism AND "community health"

Consumer Health Database: noft(feminist) AND ("clinical care")

PubMed: (feminism[MeSH Terms]) AND ("health care")

Sociology Database: noft(feminism) AND noft(public health) AND noft(United States)



For more relevant databases to search, you can browse through Gumberg's social sciences and health science resources.


Additional Reading