Foreword Pasqualina Perrig-Chiello Certain books are eagerly anticipated and long overdue. Gender, health, and ageing' is such a book. Its topic is relevant in many different ways. The de- graphic and societal changes of the past decades, such as longevity and - provement of public health, have definitely created new and often very distinct realities for men and women. However, these diversities have only marginally and fragmentally been the topic of research endeavours. There is, for example, a general growing awareness for the societal phenomenon of feminization of old age', yet the topic and its psychosocial and health-related consequences haven't attracted the scientific interest they would have deserved. It is noteworthy, that still until a few decades ago, the majority of geriatric and gerontological studies were oriented towards male standards without considering gender effects. Even though subsequent studies increasingly began to focus on differences between women and men, they referred mainly to the biological sex of a person and not to their gender belonging. Due to these scientific neglects and limitations, the state of the art in the field of gender, health and ageing is sketchy and often enough contradictory (Perrig-Chiello & Hopflinger, 2004).
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