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Logo of bmcphBioMed Centralsearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleBMC Public Health
BMC Public Health. 2012; 12: 795.
Published online 2012 September 17. doi:  10.1186/1471-2458-12-795
PMCID: PMC3503856

Can the impact of gender equality on health be measured? a cross-sectional study comparing measures based on register data with individual survey-based data



The aim of this study was to investigate potential associations between gender equality at work and self-rated health.


2861 employees in 21 companies were invited to participate in a survey. The mean response rate was 49.2%. The questionnaire contained 65 questions, mainly on gender equality and health. Two logistic regression analyses were conducted to assess associations between (i) self-rated health and a register-based company gender equality index (OGGI), and (ii) self-rated health and self-rated gender equality at work.


Even though no association was found between the OGGI and health, women who rated their company as “completely equal” or “quite equal” had higher odds of reporting “good health” compared to women who perceived their company as “not equal” (OR = 2.8, 95% confidence interval = 1.4 – 5.5 and OR = 2.73, 95% CI = 1.6-4.6). Although not statistically significant, we observed the same trends in men. The results were adjusted for age, highest education level, income, full or part-time employment, and type of company based on the OGGI.


No association was found between gender equality in companies, measured by register-based index (OGGI), and health. However, perceived gender equality at work positively affected women’s self-rated health but not men’s. Further investigations are necessary to determine whether the results are fully credible given the contemporary health patterns and positions in the labour market of women and men or whether the results are driven by selection patterns.

Keywords: Gender equality, Self-rated health, Companies

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