Gender Mainstreaming in the Health Sector

Experiences in Commonwealth Countries

image of Gender Mainstreaming in the Health Sector
Improvement in health remains a challenge for all. However, the problem is more acute for women. There is a disparity between women and men in their ability to gain access to health care appropriate to them. Furthermore, the low status of women in less developed countries has been identified as a major obstacle to development. If women are to gain better access to health services they must be given the opportunity to work in partnership with men at all levels of the health sector, including the highest levels of policymaking. Together they must ensure that women’s specific needs are identified and addressed appropriately.

This book is the result of consensus built up in a series of workshops in different regions of the Commonwealth on what is the most effective way of applying Gender Management System principles and methodology to the health sector. The differing contexts of financial, human and other resources explored in Gender Mainstreaming in the Health Sector will assist other countries in adapting mainstreaming to their own particular circumstances.

This manual has been written to provide support and guidance to policymakers, planners, nongovernmental organisations, institutions and staff working in the health sector.



Preface and Acknowledgements

When Commonwealth Heads of Government adopted the Commonwealth Plan of Action on Gender and Development and its gender mainstreaming approach, the Gender and Youth Affairs Division of the Commonwealth Secretariat developed the concept of the Gender Management System (GMS) as a strategy for ensuring that a gender perspective is integrated into all government policies, planning and programmes. The GMS provides a network of structures, mechanisms and processes for achieving gender integration in different fields and it was felt that the health sector would benefit from the application of GMS principles. In response, the Health Department of the Commonwealth Secretariat embarked on the process of developing this manual on mainstreaming gender in the health sector.


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