Measuring the Past: Gender, Health and Welfare in Europe Since c. 1800

  • Bernard Harris
Part of the Social Indicators Research Series book series (SINS, volume 49)


This chapter explores the relationship between economic and social disadvantage, gender and health. The first section summarises existing knowledge about inequalities in the treatment of males and females in Europe from medieval times onwards. The following section discusses the background to the use of height and other anthropometric indicators as ways of measuring gendered disadvantage. Section three examines the results obtained from a number of different studies of the heights and weights of males and females who were born in different parts of Europe during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The final section examines the relationship between gender and mortality, with particular reference to nineteenth- and twentieth-century Britain. The chapter concludes that there is little evidence to show that differences in the upbringing of girls and boys had a direct effect on either height or mortality, but inequalities in adult lives did have an effect on gender-specific health statistics.


Average Height Female Mortality Past Generation Contemporary Account Systematic Discrimination 
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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Sociology and Social Policy, School of Social SciencesUniversity of SouthamptonHighfield, SouthamptonUK

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