Gender and health systems
Gender, the socially and culturally constructed roles and relationships between women and men, shape the ways in which health systems are planned, delivered, and experienced by users.
Male biases in service provision have resulted in health services which are not necessarily designed to address the full range of health needs and rights of women. Health status is currently being defined more broadly than in the past by international bodies such as the World Health Organisation, to include issues previously overlooked - most notably, the physical and psychological injuries caused by gender-based violence, and harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation. Increased participation of women as health service providers and planners increases the likelihood that services meet women’s needs and rights. To promote accountability and service responsiveness there is also need to create opportunities for health "users" – different groups of women and men to feed into the planning and delivery of health services.
The health system itself is a gendered structure. For example from a human resources perspective, gender can affect who is employed, at what level of an institutional hierarchy, their work experiences, their chances of experiencing gender based violence, their degree of job satisfaction, and their chances of promotion. These are important equity issues in themselves and also influence the quality and appropriateness of services provided for women and men.
This section of the health system resource guide provides examples and tools to mainstream gender in the delivery of health system delivery. This requires action at multiple levels: defining health services in ways that meet women’s and men’s multiple health needs; addressing gender imbalances in human resources for health and integrating gender concerns in different health financing strategies and global health initiatives, such as the Global Fund, Sector Wide Approaches, donor harmonisation approaches and multi-sectoral approaches.
- Is the bride too beautiful? Safe motherhood in rural Rwanda
- V. Chambers; F. Golooba-Mutebi / Africa Power and Politics, 2012
- Despite recent improvements in some countries, progress towards reducing maternal mortality rates in sub-Saharan Africa overall lags considerably behind that of other developing country regions. Recent evidence indicates th...
- DRAFT: Sexual and Reproductive Rights and Health in the Post-2015 Development Agenda
- International Women's Health Coalition, 2012
- This is a draft working paper on sexual and reproductive health and rights in the context of the post-2015 framework. Universal health insurance is a critical factor in achieving health coverage because of the role it can play in prov...
- Female sex workers use of sexual health services in Nepal
- L. Ghimire; W.C.S. Smith; E.R.V. Teijlingen / BioMed Central, 2011
- Statistics indicate that more than half of the women with sexually transmitted infections in Nepal sought sexual health services. This study explores female sex workers (FSWs) use of sexual health services in Nepal and the factors ass...
- Maternal health care utilisation among ethnic minority women in China
- A. Harris; Y. Zhou; H. Liao / Oxford Journals, 2010
- A goal of the Chinese government is to improve the quality and use of maternity services. This paper presents a simple descriptive study of maternal health care utilisation (MHCU) among ethnic minority women in a remote region of Chin...
- Gender-equitable primary health care reforms
- S. Ravindran / World Health Organization, 2010
- The WHO has launched an ambitious course of transforming health systems towards primary health care (PHC), yet integrating a gender perspective within PHC reform is a major challenge. This document aims to outline the basic elements o...
- Innovation for women and children's health
- D. Altman; H. Fogstad; L. Grønseth / Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway, 2011
- Improving the health of women and children contributes extensively to economic development. This report describes business models that innovators have used with success, as well as case studies of some of the most powerful and ingenio...
- Genital mutilation causes high rates of psychiatric disturbances for girls in Iraq
- J.I. Kizilhan / European Journal of Psychiatry, 2011
- Female genital mutilation (FGM) in Iraq has been brought to public attention by several human rights organisations since 2003. This study investigates the mental health status of young girls after genital mutilation in Northern Iraq. ...
- Female genital mutilation in Burkina Faso
- B. Karmaker; N. Kandala; D. Chung / BioMed Central, 2011
- Female genital mutilation (FGM) is widely practiced in some parts of Africa, although it can cause immediate complications (pain, bleeding and infection) and delayed complications (sexual, obstetric, psychological problems). This arti...
- Health consequences of female genital mutilation/cutting in The Gambia
- A. Kaplan; S. Hechavarría; M. Martín / Reproductive Health, 2011
- Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) is a harmful traditional practice with severe health complications, deeply rooted in many Sub-Saharan African countries. The objective of this study is to perform a first evaluation of the mag...
- International efforts to abandon female genital mutilation and cutting in Africa
- N.J. Diop; M. Malmström; F. Moneti / United Nations Population Fund, 2011
- The objective of the ‘UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting (FGM/C) Accelerating Change’ is to contribute to the abandonment of FGM/C in 17 African countries. This annual report is sought to...