Women’s Health: Impact of Social Determinants

Subject: Sociology
Pages: 4
Words: 1190
Reading time:
5 min
Study level: Master


Women have faced and continue to face difficulties in accessing reproductive health services and medical insurance. Most women in the US depend on their spouses for medical insurance. It implies that divorced or widowed women and those whose spouses lost their jobs may lose medical coverage (Daniel et al., 2018). Women without health insurance use less preventive care and are liable to postpone treatment due to financial constraints. Furthermore, state and federal lawmakers frequently discuss support for family planning programs and accessibility for quality reproductive health care, generating controversy and possible inequalities to accessibility to reproductive healthcare.

Sex and gender problems influence women’s wellbeing in the US. Women’s disease presentation, drug reactions, and care management plans can vary from men’s. According to research, chronic diseases are more prevalent among women than men (Daniel et al., 2018). Additionally, women are prone to mental illnesses as a result of postpartum depression. Women’s health issues are complicated by the gender paradox of health, which indicates that since women have a longer life expectancy than men, they are generally healthier. Possibly, the paradox slowers the policies and laws designed to help women realize their health needs.

The social determinants that affect women’s health include educational level, economic situation, and the environment, including the neighborhood, race, and religion. High levels of education positively impact the health of an individual. Households headed by individuals with low education levels are likely to live in areas with limited access to quality health services (Sharma et al., 2018). Additionally, low education levels account for low-income levels. Income plays a vital role in accessing quality health care. With adequate income, women can afford nutritious food to keep themselves healthy. Unfavourvarble environments can deter women from accessing or having limited healthcare access (Sharma et al., 2018). An unfavorable environment can subject one to discrimination in the healthcare system. For instance, women of colour are often misdiagnosed, leading to premature death. Negative social determinants of health that contribute to health inequalities are expensive and hinder the quality of healthcare services and health promotion, leading to increased healthcare costs, lost efficiency, and early death.

Review of National Guidelines and Initiatives

Clinical guidelines are instructions for physicians on how to treat patients with particular diseases or conditions. They should be focused on the most up-to-date research and practice knowledge—for instance, nutrition during pregnancy. These guidelines aim to help women better control their diet throughout pregnancy by illustrating a correlation between proper nutrition and healthy pregnancy (Sharma et al., 2018). Expectant mothers must take a daily folic acid supplement of 0.4 mg and eat a nutritious, healthy diet rich in vitamin D, calcium, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids. Another guideline includes obesity and pregnancy; to manage obese women better before, during, and after pregnancy. Before becoming pregnant, physicians recommend them to lose weight. They should also receive additional resources to help them start and maintain breastfeeding.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) substantially changed the policy environment in which public health is practiced. According to The Commonwealth Fund, women’s health insurance coverage increased due to the Affordable Care Act’s consumer protections (Sharma et al., 2018). The law’s significant insurance changes allowed millions of women who did not have employer-provided coverage to obtain insurance via its storefronts or Medicaid. Even though women paid higher premiums, 90% of personal healthcare plans did not offer any standard maternity coverage (Norris, 2021). However, ACA, popularly known as ObamaCare, moved in and mitigated this discrepancy in health insurance. Besides, women also have access to free preventative services, such as family planning.

Healthy People (HP) developed milestones and tracked progress over time to inspire people to make better health choices and assess preventive measures. HP 2020 covers many grounds regarding women’s and girls’ health targets, including those in the works (Bettio, 2020). Mainly injury and abuse prevention, especially sexual prevention. HP has provided facts and statistics, risk factors, and protective strategies to help fight this vice. Also, HP has heavily addressed family planning aiming at reducing unwanted pregnancies (Bettio, 2020). They have done this through increased awareness of contraceptives and sex education in general.

Role of the APN in Women’s Healthcare in Primary Care Settings

Advanced Practice Nurses (APNs) are nurses with a high degree of specialization and excellent nursing practice abilities. APN comprises nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists and certified nurse-midwives (Woo et al., 2017). They play an important role in promoting women’s health in hospital setting. Nurse Practitioners (NP) are an integral part of the primary care workforce. They play a crucial role in generating substantial, patient-centred medical care accessible to as many people as possible (Bettio, 2020). The nursing staff is counsellors, mentors, researchers, and managers in women’s health. NPs will help women save money on health insurance by delivering high-quality care and counselling. Women show exceptionally high satisfaction with the treatment they receive from NPs, with millions of visits per year (Woo et al., 2017). NPs address the current primary care crisis in the United States by ensuring greater, patient-centred, and cost-effective care for women.

The significance of APNs is attributable to the fact that women face various health problems than men. They are prone to be diagnosed with chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart diseases, leading to death. Heart disease is ranked the first health issue that leads to death among women (Bettio, 2020). Historically, women have been under-represented in clinical studies, and science and medicine have generally overlooked several health problems related to women until recently. Poor healthcare practices do not give women thorough examination as they do men. Several women do not have adequate access to health insurance. The most affected are women with low income, those from a racial minority, and those with underlying health problems. Socioeconomic status based on education, income, or occupation is highly correlated with a series of health and disease consequences, including health behaviors and medical treatment behaviors. The few women populations with health insurance depend on their employed spouses, putting them at risk in case of divorce or losing their jobs (Heath, 2020). Since women’s health, especially reproductive health, is highly politicized, primary care for women is undermined.

Measures to improve productivity by enhancing the workforce’s potential are currently under consideration. Greater use of nurses in advanced nursing practice (APN) is one possible step. APN education ensures nurses’ roles are expanded to include other healthcare environments such as intensive care (Woo et al., 2017). It also corresponds to a service offering that seeks to react to women’s ever-changing interests flexibly. APN education will also ensure that it fulfils women’s demand in unserved and remote communities in terms of primary care.


Women should be treated equally as men. Women face difficulties in accessing reproductive health services and medical insurance. The social determinants affect women’s access to healthcare. Conclusively, improving women’s primary care requires legislators to set aside their differences. It is crucial to understand that although women have a longer average life expectancy, their healthy average life expectancy is shorter than that of men. In addition, the time of physical disability in the later stages of old age is also longer than that of men.


Bettio, F. (2020). On the prevalence, frequency and seriousness of sexual harassment and violence against women. Gender Equality 2019, p. 82. Web.

Daniel, H., Erickson, S. M., & Bornstein, S. S. (2018). Women’s health policy in the United States: An American college of physicians position paper. Annals of Internal Medicine, 168(12), 874. Web.

Heath, S. (2020). Understanding Barriers, Gaps in Women’s Primary Care Quality. PatientEngagementHIT. Web.

Norris, L. (2021). Women, health insurance and the Affordable Care Act. Health Insurance. Web.

Sharma, M., Pinto, A. D., & Kumagai, A. K. (2018). Teaching the social determinants of health: A path to equity or a road to nowhere? Academic Medicine, 93(1), 25-30. Web.

Woo, B. F. Y., Lee, J. X. Y., & San Tam, W. W. (2017). The impact of the advanced practice nursing role on quality of care, clinical outcomes, patient satisfaction, and cost in the emergency and critical care settings: A systematic review. Human Resources for Health, 15(1), 1-22. Web.