Author(s): Bernard C K Choi
Background: An international comparison study of women's occupational health issues was carried out in 2000 for the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Canada, Hong Kong and Singapore. The study was funded by the Canadian International Development Agency's Southeast Asia Gender Equity Program.
Aim: The objective was to compare the issues, risk factors, social determinants, and challenges in women's occupational health, according to the status of economic development as defined by the World Bank.
Method: Data were collected through 27 key informant interviews of high-ranking government officials and senior researchers, self-administered questionnaires on country or regional statistics and 16 courtesy calls.
Results: Results indicated that women's occupational health problems common in these countries or regions included women's long hours of work (double workday), shift work and a caring role for family and friends. Problems reported in developing countries but not developed countries included poor access to training and protective equipment, and insufficient legislation to protect women's rights. Problems reported in developed countries but not in developing countries included obesity, smoking and not including women in health research.
Conclusion: This paper provides insights into the changing environment in the workplace, such as increasing participation of women in the paid workforce and changes in gender differences due to the changing country economy, for improving women's occupational health.Occupational Medicine & Health Affairs