In February 2013 Partnership Co-Lead Mieke Koehoorn was named a CIHR Research Chair in Gender, Work and Health. Her Chair supports Partnership projects investigating gender and sex differences in work injury and illness rates in BC, and gender and sex differences in work disability outcomes across compensation systems in Canada and internationally.
PhD and Masters research opportunities are available under Mieke’s supervision in this area. Interested students should contact Mieke with a CV and statement of interest. For example, PhD students Andrea Jones and Cheryl Peters are currently investigating the role of gender, sex, and mental health on disability duration, and occupational exposure to ultra violet light among male workers, respectively.
Gender/sex differences in workers’ compensation and work disability is an important and growing issue in Canada (and other jurisdictions) for many reasons, including:
- The entry of women into a wider variety of high risk occupations and industries;
- The steady increase in the rate of workforce participation for women aged 55 and older compared to men;
- Emerging evidence that women have higher rates of injury/illness compared to men in the same jobs;
- An aging workforce in Canada, coupled with a shift in retirement age and eligibility criteria for pensions;
- Emerging evidence that older workers have more severe or disabling injuries/illnesses, that work-related injury/illness risk for women do not decline with age compared to men, and that women and men have different work disability experiences.
Program of research
We are conducting several population-based studies using administrative health databases (i.e. workers’ compensation claims) to investigate gender/sex differences in work injury and illness rates, and work disability or return-to-work outcomes, within the same occupation/industry groups by type of injury illness, over time, and by age groups. We also include comparisons across jurisdictions to identify system- or policy-level characteristics that may influence gender/sex differences.
What do we mean by gender/sex?
As described in the CIHR Gender, Sex and Health Research Guide, there are no definitive, universally accepted definitions of ‘gender’ or ‘sex’, but gender is usually associated with social constructs (roles, relationships, behaviours) for women and men; and sex is typically understood to refer to physical constructs (biology, physiology) for females and males. As stated by Nancy Kreiger (2003), individuals live both, simultaneously (a ‘gendered’ person and a ‘sexed’ organism), and both matter for health outcomes as part of an ‘ecosocial epidemiological perspective’.
- Mieke Koehoorn’s recommended readings on gender, sex and health.
- View an inspiring video from the CIHR Institute for Gender and Health (IGH) about why gender and sex matter to our health: Shaping Science for a Healthier World.
- Sign up for IGH eNews to receive monthly news on sex, gender, and health research in Canada. Email IGH-ISFH@cihr-irsc.gc.ca to subscribe.
- Meet the eight other CIHR Research Chairs in Gender, Work and Health.
- Thank you to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety for their support of the Gender, Work and Health Research Chair program.
- The CIHR Institute for Gender and Health Community Support Program financially supports travel, skills development, and knowledge translation for gender, sex, and health research.
Related Partnership publications
Macpherson RA, Koehoorn M, Fan J, Quirke W, Amick BC, Kraut A, Mustard CA, McLeod CB.
J Occup Rehabil. 2019 Sep; 29(3):560-568.
Age, sex, and the changing disability burden of compensated work-related musculoskeletal disorders in Canada and Australia
Macpherson R, Lane T, Collie A, McLeod C.
BMC Public Health. 2018;18:758.
Measuring gender when you don’t have a gender measure: constructing a gender index using survey data
Smith P, Koehoorn M.
Int J Equity Health. 2016 May 28;15(1):82.
Socías ME, Koehoorn M, Shoveller J.
Womens Health Issues. 2016 Jan-Feb;26(1):74-9.
Fan J, McLeod C, Koehoorn M. PLoS ONE. 2012; 7(6): e38750.
Kennedy S, Koehoorn M. American Journal of Industrial Medicine. 2003; 44(6):576-583.