Discussion paper


The paper argues broadly for recognition of a number of principles essential to establishing a firm basis upon which to redress health inequities for women:

  • It is impossible to understand women’s health outcomes without also understanding the social context of women’s lives;
  • International human rights and cultural conventions are a powerful mechanism for mobilising action on women’s health and well-being;
  • Gender power relations impact on social and health outcomes for women;
  • The factor of gender accounts for the fundamental differences between women’s and men’s experience of health issues. As such, improvement of women’s health care necessitates affording high priority to gender issues in all aspects of health care;
  • In determining health and illness outcomes, health systems have a responsibility to acknowledge the importance of gendered social relations, social factors, and conditions of living;
  • Understanding the ways in which gender impacts on chronic health conditions will be enhanced by explicitly mainstreaming gender in the process of informing gender-specific services;
  • It is vital to infuse gender analysis, gender sensitive research, women’s perspectives, and gender equity goals into policies, projects and institutional ways of working.
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