This Gender System Makes Me Sick! Structural Sexism and Health In The United States
The present study seeks to build a new line of health disparities research that parallels the emerging structural racism literature by developing theory and measurement for the concept of structural sexism and examining its relationship to health. Consistent with contemporary theories of gender as a multilevel social system, I measure structural sexism at the macro-, meso-, and micro-levels using U.S. state-level administrative data coupled with restricted geo-coded data from the NLSY79. Results show that among women, exposure to more sexism at the macro- and meso-levels is predictive of worse self-rated health, worse physical functioning, more chronic conditions, and more depressive symptoms. Higher internalized sexism at the micro-level is also associated with more chronic conditions and depressive symptoms among women. Structural sexism at any level is largely unrelated to health outcomes among men. These results highlight the need for future research on gender discrimination and health using a structural sexism perspective.