Gender, women and health

What is "gender mainstreaming"?

If health care systems are to respond adequately to problems caused by gender inequality, it is not enough to simply "add in” a gender component late in a given project’s development. Research, interventions, health system reforms, health education, health outreach, and health policies and programmes must consider gender from the beginning.

Gender is thus not something that can be consigned to “watchdogs” in a single office, since no one office can possibly involve itself in all phases of an organization’s activities. All health professionals must have knowledge and awareness of the ways in which gender affects health, so that they may address gender issues wherever appropriate thus rendering their work more effective.

The process of creating this knowledge and awareness of - and responsibility for - gender among all health professionals is called "gender mainstreaming”.