Gender, women and health

WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean (EMRO)

Gender, Women and Health Network

The unit of Gender in Health and Development works to include gender considerations at all levels of health care and delivery. Gender considerations mean recognizing both the biological and social differences of males and females and the resulting differences in health attainment and vulnerability.

New Gender Directorate in Afghanistan

There is perhaps no more important determinant in regard to improving the health and nutrition sector in Afghanistan than both the health status of women and their status in society. In fact, the school enrolment rate for girls is almost half that of boys in rural areas. The link between girls’ education and maternal health and well-being for families has not yet been recognized. Women who engage in wage labour earn substantially less than men, and sometimes less than children. The country's current Health and Nutrition Sector Strategy recognizes that women are more than mothers and that their general health concerns have been, for the most part, neglected. Hence, the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) decided to upgrade the Gender Unit under the Reproductive Health Directorate to a Gender Directorate which reports directly to the Minister of Public Health and which is to integrate gender into all MoPH Directorates and programmes. Furthermore, support from the Health Service Support Project of USAID is enabling the development of a National gender policy and strategy for the Directorate with WHO providing technical support.

Pakistan campaigns against gender inequality

Gender-based violence is a serious public health problem in Pakistan. The Gender and Health Programme in the WHO Country Office in Pakistan is a collaborative effort with the Ministry of Health and other ministries in Pakistan to integrate gender into national health policies and programmes. In 2010 alone, 160 health providers and professionals have been trained in selected districts to address gender-based violence issues and other gender barriers in health planning, provision, access and utilization of health services. As a result, the participants developed district level action plans for the health sector to respond better to gender-based violence.

One (gender) UN in Iran

The United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) for the Islamic Republic of Iran identifies the strategic areas the UN agencies can address. As gender is a cross-cutting issue in the Framework, a Gender Working Group, composed of UN system agencies including WHO, has been established in 2001 and operational since 2004. The Group meets monthly to follow up on the implementation of a joint workplan. For example, over the past three months, the gender focal point in the WHO Country Office in Iran has co-facilitated gender sensitization workshops for UN and WHO staff. During the month of November, a consultant hired by the Gender Working Group will map gender capacities of UN agencies, and the resulting recommendations will inform the integration of gender into the country's national health plan.