that can impair health. These hazards are related to both physical
(such as heavy lifting and carrying, repetitive working movements,
sustained static postures, awkward postures, night work, long hours,
violence, noise, vibration, heat, cold, chemicals) and psychosocial
exposures (e.g. stress related to high mental demand, speed, lack
of control over the way work is done, lack of social support, lack of
respect, discrimination, psychological and sexual harassment). In
developed countries, women are exposed to some physical hazards
more often, such as highly repetitive movements, awkward postures,
biological agents in hospital environments, and to intense exposure to
the public in some jobs (östlin 2002b; Messing, 2004).
In less developed countries, there are numerous hazards and
regulations may be non-existent or ignored (Takaro et al., 1999). For
example, in maquiladoras
in Latin America, women are exposed to
chemicals, ergonomic hazards, noise and stress (Cedillo et al., 1997). In
one study, 17% of women had a cumulative trauma disorder diagnosed
on physical examination (Meservy et al., 1997). Almost twice as many
women as men reported such disorders.
In general, women are exposed to some psychosocial risk factors at
work, such as negative stress, psychological and sexual harassment
and monotonous work, more often than men (Arcand et al., 2000). Due
to their low status in the work hierarchy, women exert less control over
their work environment, a condition associated with cardiovascular,
mental and musculoskeletal ill health (Hall, 1989). The combination
of paid and unpaid work affects women's health (Brisson et al., 1999).
Consequently, work-related fatigue, repetitive strain injury, infections
and mental health problems are more common among women than
among men (östlin, 2002a).
The dose and type of health-damaging factors vary tremendously
among occupations and across countries, as well as between formal
problems are more
1 A maquiladora (or maquila) is a factory that imports materials and equipment on a duty-free and tariff-free basis
for assembly or manufacturing and then re-exports the assembled product usually back to the originating country.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ accessed August 9, 2006.