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The focus of occupational health research on paid employment
fails to detect interactions between health hazards within the
work place and outside of it. Women's work-related health cannot
be understood unless the framework based on waged employment
is complemented with frameworks related to gender roles and
women's work in the domestic sphere, and to the interactions
and interfaces between the two spheres.
Women should be included in occupational health research,
especially in toxicological studies. However, any sex differences
detected should be carefully examined with regard to the
mechanisms involved, in order to separate true sex specificity from
sex- specific exposures and effect modifiers.
Research tools and methods
Research tools and methods in the field of occupational health that
were originally developed in relation to predominantly male
employment sectors, must be validated and extended for analyses
of women's jobs. In addition, tools and methods should be
developed that are adapted to conditions found more often among
women workers, such as extremely fast movements, reconciling
work and family, relations with clients, and sexual harassment.
New gender sensitive indicators should be developed for
work-related health outcomes. Available indicators of working
conditions do not fully capture the particular features that
characterize much of women's employment, and may be biased in
their focus towards working conditions that characterize male-
dominated areas of activity. Disorders resulting from psychosocial
pressure at work should be better diagnosed and reported. Two
areas are of special concern, namely the development of indicators
that explore the positive and negative impact of "caring work" and
better measures in relation to intimidation, harassment and
discrimination, particularly in customer-based work.