"We must do whatever it takes": Promoting and sustaining Black Canadian women's health in Toronto

Karen Flynn, Audrey Taylor

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Canada prides itself on its health care system, a system designed to provide health services to all its citizens regardless of age, race, income, gender and religion. Thus, Black women are still the beneficiaries of "socialized" medicine, amidst restructuring and privatization of the Canadian health care system. Affordable health care however is hardly a primary determinant of healthy individuals. Despite the paucity of research on the health of Black people in Canada, recent studies overwhelmingly posit that: a) Blacks, whether they are from the Caribbean, Africa, or were born in Canada, are unacquainted with the Canadian health care system and, as a result, are unable to use it effectively; b) economic status and racist ideology play a critical role in the health of Black Canadian communities; and c) In comparison to the general population, African women from the continent, Caribbean, and Canadian born Blacks are overrepresented in terms of HIV/AIDS, diabetes, asthma, hypertension, sexually transmitted diseases, sickle cell anemia, breast cancer, high blood pressure, and uterine fibroids. Drawing on questionnaires, a panel discussion, and other qualitative research, coupled with an anti-racist feminist analysis, this chapter attends to the narratives of Black women underscoring the issues they identify that impacts their health with a focus on specific sites such as the workplace, interpersonal and familial relationships, and media representation. The authors argue that to expose and attend to the obstacles that impact Black women's health leading to their overrepresentation in certain diseases and illnesses necessitates a multi-pronged holistic strategy that does not isolate nor prioritize HIV/AIDS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationStrong Women, Dangerous Times
Subtitle of host publicationGender and HIV/AIDS in Africa
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9781606927366
StatePublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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