Gender learning contributes to better health for women and men
Capacity building on gender in health (or gender learning) empowers health actors to take action and address health inequities and differences between and among different groups of women and men.
In particular, gender learning builds skills among health stakeholders to:
- identify and understand health differences and disparities among groups of women and men;
- address gender inequalities in health planning and programming processes;
- conduct gender assessments of health sector plans, strategies and related documents;
- engage with relevant stakeholders within and outside the health sector to reduce the burden of gender-based health inequities, and
- foster institutional change and enhance institutional performance towards the progressive realisation of the right to health.
Without skills in these areas, public health actors are ill-equipped to ease the harmful effects of gender norms, roles and relations on health. When institutional capacity to adequately address gender is weak, the result is often the prioritization of a few programmes (thereby reducing the effectiveness of mainstreaming efforts) or to focus solely on the health of sex and age specific groups (therefore missing other key population groups and health areas).
The highest impact of capacity gaps on gender and health is felt among the diverse groups of women and men whose particular health needs go unaddressed. Without a concerted approach to identify and address capacity needs on gender analysis and planning, goals of health equity will continue to remain out of reach.