Gender conference set for June

June 10, 2004, vol. 30, no. 4
By Carol Thorbes

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A conference at Simon Fraser University's Harbour Centre campus, June 10 to 13, will be the first international, academic event to put gender, sexuality and health on the discussion table simultaneously.

Sue Wilkinson, the Ruth Wynn Woodward Endowed professor of women's studies at SFU, has organized the International Interdisciplinary Conference on Gender, Sexuality and Health, an event expected to draw 200 participants.

Wilkinson believes there are key reasons why it has taken decades for such a conference to be organized, even though its theme has long been a hot topic. “The fields of women's/gender studies and sexuality studies are traditionally distinct, and sometimes disparate. Neither has historically, consistently focused on health issues,” says Wilkinson, the editor of the international journal Feminism and Psychology.

“Also, health research related to gender issues has historically focused on women's and children's health as it pertains to the heterosexual nuclear family. Consequently, single women, non-heterosexual people, and those in non-traditional relationships have been poorly served.”

Wilkinson says this conference will highlight health concerns arising from the intersection of a number of social variables. She notes health policies and programs typically neglect the correlation between gender, sexuality and health because societies and governments are still struggling to understand it.

“One of the objectives of the conference is to work toward an integrated agenda for gender and sexuality research and policy across a wide range of health issues.”

Wilkinson, a visiting professor of feminist and health studies from Loughborough University in the United Kingdom, is one of the keynote speakers.

Her presentation Gender, Sexuality and Health: Towards New Agendas, will outline key issues surrounding the conference's theme.

For more information check Gender, sexuality and health conference.

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