Beyond lipstick and woodwork: Why gender matters when living with dementia

Boyle, Geraldine (2019). Beyond lipstick and woodwork: Why gender matters when living with dementia. In: Pickard, Susan and Robinson, Jude eds. Ageing, the Body and the Gender Regime: Health, illness and disease across the life course. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 113–127.



Gender is a neglected aspect of policy, practice and research relating to the support of those living with dementia. Although this field is heavily informed by human rights frameworks and increasingly by a citizenship perspective, gender remains a marginal issue. Even when sex or gender is considered, it is often narrowly framed as a biological trait, which is fixed or a dimension of individual identity to be addressed via gendered activities and dress rather than a more fundamental aspect of social organisation associated with equality or inequality. In turn, the role of gender relations in everyday life and its influence particularly on the well-being of women with dementia is rarely considered. Yet, gender is associated with health inequalities and gender inequity in healthcare policy, and provision can also exacerbate gender inequality, including in dementia. Drawing on the author’s research, this chapter will discuss the role of gender in influencing the lives of women and men with dementia and the healthcare they receive, focusing on recognition, voice, agency and social participation.

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