A gender analysis of quality of life in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

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While many community initiatives have attempted to assess the nature and determinants of their citizens' quality of life (QOL), these initiatives have produced little about whether the key determinants of life quality differ by gender. Using both quantitative and qualitative data from a recent QOL research project in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, this study explores whether factors that predict poor QOL are similar for women and men. The study also examines whether the nature of these gender differences varies across low, medium and high socio-economic status locales. Results showed that men and women were very similar in: (1) their QOL ratings, (2) reports of deterioration in neighborhood QOL, and (3) rating particular aspects of their neighborhood. Few gender differences were also found when analyzing data referring to place characteristics and social cohesion. Multivariate analysis revealed further similarities: (1) being divorced/widowed was a significant predictor of poor QOL, and (2) a negative view of community security issues was associated with deterioration in perceived neighborhood quality of life. For women, however, other variables were important predictors of QOL: being middle aged, being single, and having a poor opinion of the overall quality of their neighborhood. Qualitative analysis revealed that while men and women shared concern about general areas such as safety and neighborhood supports, their perceptions of the details around these issues differed. The multi-method results suggest that urban policy actions should include a gendered discussion of common QOL issues.

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