Gender Mistrust as a Public Health Crisis: A Preliminary Proposal


There is an increasingly well-documented phenomenon in the United States of gender mistrust between men and women, especially among the socioeconomically vulnerable. It is one of the factors that prevents and breaks down stable, long-term relationships like marriage and the parenting of mutual, marital children. Gender mistrust has negative personal and social effects upon women’s well-being. Of course, it also has negative effects upon the well-being of men, children, and wider society. Each deserves attention. But the subject of this Symposium invites a focus upon women.

Gender mistrust (sometimes called “gender distrust”) is the tendency of one sex to negatively characterize the other sex based upon generalized and derogatory stereotypes and biases. I propose that gender mistrust between men and women is a public health crisis and as such, a fit subject for the attention of lawmakers and policymakers. A great deal has been written about gender mistrust from a sociological and psychological perspective, but nothing has treated it under the heading of “public health.”