Gender, women and health

About us

The Department of Gender, Women and Health advocates gender equality in health for women and men around the world

What we do

Gender, Women and Health (GWH) draws attention to the ways in which biological and socio-cultural factors affect the health of women and men, boys and girls.

GWH aims to increase knowledge and strengthen the health sector response by gathering evidence, developing norms and standards for mainstreaming gender in health policies and programmes, strengthening capacity and engaging in advocacy on how gender and gender inequality affect health.

GWH focuses on the ways that gender, as a social construct, affects the health of both men and women. Clearly, gender inequality has a higher toll on women's health due to the discrimination they face in nearly every culture. Gender inequality exacerbates the harmful effects of poverty and lack of education on women's health, hampering the ability of millions of women worldwide to access health care and achieve the best possible level of health.

Main strategies

  • Increase knowledge and evidence of the impact of gender inequalities on specific health problems and health services as well as of successful responses;
  • Develop tools to promote and expand health sector policies, interventions and programmes at the regional and country level that systematically address gender concerns, including gender-based violence;
  • Develop skills and build capacity, within and outside WHO, to promote policies and programmes that help women and men to lead healthy lives and benefit from health care services;
  • Improve public understanding of gender issues as related to health by developing advocacy materials and activities;
  • Create awareness and provide support to WHO Member States to design and promote gender-sensitive health policies and strategies.

Related documents

WHO gender strategy

Integrating gender analysis and actions into the work of WHO, recap of key gender definitions

2009 Highlights

What we do, how we do it, normative work on gender and health, tools, and country work


Gender, Equity and Human Rights