The global pattern of women suffering from worse health than men, based on cultural, economic, and biological factors, was found in a small group of Q’eqchi’ women in the Toledo district of Belize. This research follows the health narratives of 20 Q’eqchi’ women to determine what they believe causes their poor health. Through in-depth personal interviews Q’eqchi’ women shared that they suffer from backaches, headaches, pain in their bones, and heavy bleeding. Further, the women also reported ‘thinking too much’ as a factor in their health caused by their reproductive roles. Through thematic analysis and an extensive review of varied literature, this research found that the colonization-rooted Latin gender roles of machismo and marianismo work to sustain Q’eqchi’ women to the domestic sphere. Based on the fact that most Q’eqchi’ women are mothers and wives, these women are stripped of opportunities to obtain education and gain employment, leading to high stress levels and a dependency on their partners for socioeconomic support. Moreover, Q’eqchi’ women’s domestic responsibilities involved arduous physical labour with little rest or help from their male spouses. This labour, combined with the pressures and responsibilities associated with their sex, results in their somatic and psychosomatic expressions of sickness. The research presented in this paper underpins the significance of women’s sex and cultural systems when analyzing global health outcomes. More nuanced considerations of cultural structures, like those mentioned by Q’eqchi’ women, need to be prioritized by policymakers and global health initiatives internationally to better support women’s health.
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