Gender, equity and human rights

Women are the drivers of sustainable development


5 APRIL 2017 - Food safety is essential to good nutrition and health, which are vital to sustainable development. WHO estimates that every year, 1 in 10 people fall ill and 125,000 children under 5 years of age die from foodborne diseases. In many parts of the world, women grow and prepare the food that is sold in markets and consumed in homes, but they don’t always have access to food safety education. Efforts to improve food safety must consider the key role women play in improving the health, nutrition and development of their communities.

Ensuring an inclusive global health agenda for transgender people

28 MARCH 2017 – There is a growing commitment in public health to improve the health and well-being of transgender people and other gender minorities, who comprise an estimated 0.3–0.5% of the global population. Evidence suggests that they often experience a disproportionately high burden of disease, including in the domains of mental, sexual and reproductive health, as well as increased exposure to violence, victimization, stigma and discrimination. Given that this issue cuts across aspects of health, equity, social determinants and rights, WHO should continue to work collaboratively across relevant technical areas at global, regional and country levels and in collaboration with transgender communities.

61st Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)


13 – 24 MARCH 2017 - The 61st Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) took place from 13-24 March 2017 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Several representatives of UN Member States, UN entities, including WHO, and nongovernmental organizations from all regions of the world participated in the session, which covered the priority theme of “Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work.” During the CSW plenary, WHO delivered a statement covering this year’s CSW theme, highlighting the link to a number of important health issues such as the health workforce, nutrition, NCDS, violence against women, and reproductive health.

World Tuberculosis Day: Unite to end TB

23 MARCH 2017 – Protecting human rights, ethics and equity are principles which underpin WHO’s End TB Strategy. Patients, communities, health workers, policy makers and other stakeholders frequently face conflicts and ethical dilemmas. New WHO tuberculosis (TB) ethics guidance, launched for World TB Day, 24 March, aims to help ensure that countries implementing the End TB Strategy adhere to sound ethical standards to protect the rights of all those affected.

The contribution of integrated people-centered health services to ensuring universal health coverage, the right to health, and leaving no one behind in the SDG era

13 MARCH 2017 – We must ensure that the voices of the most vulnerable populations are included on the path to universal health coverage. This requires an integrated and people-centred approach in how health services are planned, delivered, monitored and evaluated, with strategies focusing on engaging and empowering underserved and marginalized subpopulations. These were some of the key messages to come out of a session on the “WHO Framework on integrated people-centred health services: reaching out to vulnerable populations” that took place at the Prince Mahidol Award Conference in Bangkok, Thailand in January.

International Women’s Day 2017

A group of young African women

8 MARCH 2017 – On International Women’s Day, WHO reaffirms its commitment to gender equality and women’s and girls’ fundamental rights, particularly to ensuring that women across the globe are able to make decisions about themselves. When women are able to decide about their health and the things that influence it, including their sexual and reproductive health and environment, they control their futures and their lives and fulfil their limitless potential.

Landmark working group on the health and human rights of women, children and adolescents meets in Geneva

Landmark working group on the health and human rights of women, children and adolescents

13 FEBRUARY 2017 - A group of champions and experts met in Geneva last week to reaffirm the urgency of putting human rights at the heart of global efforts to improve the health of women, children and adolescents – including the poorest, and those living in conflict zones and as refugees. The High Level Working Group on the Health and Human Rights of Women, Children and Adolescents responds to the demand of the Sustainable Development Goals to leave no one behind by rallying political support for a human rights based approach to health.

Launch of new State of Inequality: Childhood Immunization report

19 DECEMBER 2016 - This newly published report addresses two overarching questions: What inequalities in childhood immunization coverage exist in low- and middle-income countries? How have childhood immunization inequalities changed over the last 10 years?

fact buffet

GenderTo ensure that different groups of women and men, boys and girls, have equal opportunities to achieve their full health potential.

More on gender

EquityTo enhance fairness in the distribution of health across populations.

More on equity

Human rightsTo produce greater health outcomes through the advancement of the right to health and other health-related human rights.

More on human rights

Facts and features

Statement by the World Health Organization at CSW61

"In the context of women’s economic empowerment, WHO draws specific attention to SDG targets 3.7 and 5.6 which call for Member States to ensure women’s rights to universal access to sexual and reproductive health care services, including family planning."

Photo story (Western Pacific): Advancing health through GER

In this photo story, see how making gender, equity and human rights everyone’s responsibility is reshaping the way health policies and programmes are developed and implemented to benefit women, men, girls and boys across the Western Pacific Region.

Photo story: Snapshots of inequalities

People have vastly different stories to tell about their health depending on a variety of social determinants.

Frequently asked questons on health and sexual diversity

This FAQ defines terms, highlights key issues and underscores the UN’s commitment to gender identity and sexual diversity.

Fact sheet on gender

Gender refers to the socially constructed characteristics of women and men – such as the norms, roles and relationships that exist between them, and which impact the health outcomes of people with transgender or intersex identities.

Frequently asked questions on migration

Abridged version of Migration and health: Key issues, published on the Regional Office for Europe website

We appreciate your visit to the Gender, Equity and Human Rights website. Plans are in development to have the site available in WHO's other official languages.

New resources

Innov8 approach for reviewing national health programmes

The Innov8 approach is a resource that supports the operationalization of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) commitment to “leave no one behind”.

Gender, equity and human rights team newsletter

Contact us at: