This paper will explore the roles that gender and feminism plays alongside other determinants to affect the health status of Aboriginal Canadian women. Determinants of health refer to the circumstances in which people are born, live, grow, work, and age, that are responsible for most of the health inequalities that exist. Common determinants contributing to sub-par health status include: early child development, education, income, employment, social and physical environment, personal health practices and coping skills, access to health services, racism, and gender. These determinants work alongside Aboriginal-specific determinants like cultural identity, self-determination, and colonialism to create significant health discrepancies
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They are more likely to suffer from mental health issues and from a wider range of cancers than men, while men are more likely to die prematurely. Women have also reported unique symptoms from men
on certain illnesses or diseases, such as those associated with stroke (Halseth 2013). Aboriginal women in Canada carry a disproportionate burden of poor health. Aboriginal women have lower life expectancy, elevated morbidity rates, and elevated suicide rates in comparison to non-Aboriginal women (Bourassa 2004).
There are also powerful, prevalent values and attitudes about gender-based social roles and behaviours that are deeply embedded in social structures. These norms
are perpetuated by social traditions that govern and constrain behaviours of both women and men, and by social institutions that produce laws and codes of conduct that maintain gender inequalities. These values and attitudes can form the basis upon which women face discrimination, creating income, employment and education inequities that have long-ranging impacts on the health of women and the type of health care they receive. These inequities affect the level of power and resources available to women. In
many parts of the world, considerable gender inequities continue to exist because women continue to have fewer rights, lower education and health status, less income, and less access to resources and decision-making than men. Even