Sensitive issues

Questions about sexuality are considered to be extremely delicate and personal. Therefore, questions about sexuality should be asked with extreme sensitivity. Asking widowed, unmarried and divorced women about their sex life is a cultural faux pas and can be taken to be an extreme insult. Older women prefer not to change into a gown even with the same-sex provider unless absolutely necessary. It may also be difficult to elicit intimate details such as bodily functions and sexual history when the health care provider interviews the female patient.

Gender issues

[photo] Pakistani woman with childPhoto courtesy of Mariam Hasan

It is commonly believed in Pakistani society that the primary duty of women is to stay home to take care of kids and family. But since economic conditions are getting tougher, women are overburdened both by working outside the home and taking care of household tasks.

Even highly acculturated Pakistani Americans regard it as natural for adult children to be responsible for aging parents and to provide care for them at home. Women customarily are the designated primary caregivers to home-dwelling Pakistani American elders. Such situations in the Pakistani American community result in a high degree of burden when caregivers feel the traditional pressures of providing all elder care personally within the home setting.