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date: 18 December 2018

Abstract and Keywords

Psychologists tend to focus on individual difference factors when examining why some people flourish and others suffer from physical or psychological health problems. This chapter argues that women’s well-being is profoundly influenced by social structures (policies, laws, cultural practices) that infringe on their human rights. These structures create damaging social conditions, encompassing several forms of discrimination (such as workplace harassment and incivilities, and sexual and self-objectification) that may occur in overt or subtle ways. Such discrimination limits women’s abilities to achieve well-being and positive enjoyment of life (life satisfaction and “eudaemonic well-being”). Women’s gendered experiences of discrimination are shaped by the other social identities they hold (e.g., race, class, sexual orientation), further complicating the discrimination-health relationship. Framing such gendered discrimination as a violation of women’s human rights will help psychologists and policy makers argue that discrimination is a social justice issue and identify practices that eliminate mistreatment at its roots.

Keywords: gender, physical health, mental health, well-being, social justice, human rights, women

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