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The Sociology of South Asian Women’s Health

  • Book
  • © 2020


  • Aims to understand the social and cultural forces that influence health behavior in women of South Asia
  • Is based on empirical evidence and uses primary and secondary data to predict causation
  • Provides pathways rooted in cultural reform to improve health policy and health outcomes for women of South Asia
  • Is a valuable resource for students and academicians due to the consistent use of theory, and for policy makers due to targeted and culturally-relevant concluding recommendations in each chapter
  • Is a support resource for improved cultural competency of healthcare practitioners delivering services to South Asian women clients

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Table of contents (9 chapters)


About this book

This contributed volume is the first-known collection of essays that brings together scholarly review, critiques, and primary and secondary data to assess how sociocultural factors influence health behavior in South Asian women. The essays are authored by working scholars or healthcare practitioners from Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan. In the chapters, the contributors acknowledge social, economic, and environmental factors to recommend improved interventions and health policy for women of the region.

Studies on South Asian women’s health have targeted clinical evidence, with less attention on social and environmental factors driving health recovery and health outcomes. The South Asian region, more than any other part of the world, is driven by traditional and cultural forces that are possibly the most significant factors determining a woman’s health awareness and her rights to adopt healthy behavior or pursue health recovery. Women of the region share a common culture andpolitical history, and there are benefits to understanding their problems collectively in order to design joint improvements in health policy for women.

Salient, but neglected, socio-political areas that influence health behavior and health outcomes in women of the region are covered in the chapters including:

  • Oral Narrations of Social Rejection Suffered by South Asian Women with Irreversible Health Conditions  
  • Women’s Role in Decision-Making for Health Care in South Asia 
  • Poverty, Health Coverage, and Credit Opportunities for South Asian Women
  • Refugee, Displaced, and Climate-Affected Women of South Asia and Their Health Challenges
  • The Political Sociology of South Asian Women’s Health

The Sociology of South Asian Women’s Health is a useful resource for students, researchers, and academicians, especially those interested in public health, gender, social policy, and occupational management, as well as healthcare practitioners, administrators, health and public policy-makers, government officers, and scholars of South Asian studies.


“This timely and accessible volume will be a valuable resource for students and researchers working across a range of areas, including sociology, health studies and development, as well as community health workers and social protection officers … . I strongly recommend this volume as a valuable book. Because of the accessibility of the language, this collection will be valued by graduate and upper-level undergraduates working in this area.” (Parveen Ali, LSE Review of Books,, June 15, 2021)

“The book invites readers to think through complex interactions between sociocultural and political practices/norms with women’s health in South Asia. It is worth mentioning that book discusses women’s health comprehensively, including issues like infectious and non-communicable diseases, mental health distress, and injuries and not only maternal health in South Asia. … The book will be appealing to a wide range of readers, including policy-makers, scholars, students, or anyone interested in South Asian women’s health, and deservedly so.” (Saman Nazir, The Pakistan Development Review, Vol. 59 (2), 2020)

Editors and Affiliations

  • Department of Sociology, Forman Christian College University, Lahore, Pakistan

    Sara Rizvi Jafree

About the editor

Sara Rizvi Jafree, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at Forman Christian College University (FCCU) in Lahore, Pakistan, and teaches courses related to Sociology of Gender, Health and Health Systems, Economic Sociology, and Sociology of Globalization. Having completed her BSc. Honors in Economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), she pursued her M-Phil and PhD in Sociology from the University of Punjab. An active researcher for funded projects in social welfare areas of microfinance and poverty alleviation, patient safety culture and workplace violence, and intergenerational learning for the elderly, she is also now working on her third book; her first book is titled Women, Healthcare and Violence in Pakistan (Oxford University Press, 2017). Dr. Jafree is part of the Lahore Biomedical Group, Special Needs Pakistan, and is an Advisor to Rotary Club FCCU, all of which enable her to stay involved in community service and plan research objectives. Her current work is on digital health literacy interventions for special needs children and disadvantaged women seeking primary healthcare services, specifically in the context of infection prevention.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: The Sociology of South Asian Women’s Health

  • Editors: Sara Rizvi Jafree

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Springer Cham

  • eBook Packages: Social Sciences, Social Sciences (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-030-50203-4Published: 07 August 2020

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-030-50206-5Published: 08 August 2021

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-030-50204-1Published: 06 August 2020

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XIII, 223

  • Number of Illustrations: 1 b/w illustrations, 2 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: Medical Sociology, Women's Studies, Health Policy, Social Structure, Social Inequality, Maternal and Child Health, Social Policy

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