Gender, Women and Health

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The World Health Organization’s Department of Gender, Women and Health has announced a new publication, WHO Multi-country Study on Women’s Health and Domestic Violence against Women:

Report findings document the prevalence of intimate partner violence and its association with women’s physical, mental, sexual and reproductive health. Data is included on non-partner violence, sexual abuse during childhood and forced first sexual experience. Information is also provided on women’s responses: Whom do women turn to and whom do they tell about the violence in their lives? Do they leave or fight back? Which services do they use and what response do they get?

The report concludes with 15 recommendations to strengthen national commitment and action on violence against women.

Another recent WHO publication is a summary of the “So What?” report, which is “intended to present policy-makers and programme managers with a clear and accessible picture of what happens when gender concerns are integrated into reproductive health programmes.”

More information on the work of the WHO’s Department of Gender, Women and Health (GWH), from its webpage:

GWH brings attention to the ways in which biological and social differences between women and men affect health and the steps needed to achieve health equity.


The main focus of GWH is to promote the inclusion of gender perspectives in the work of the WHO by collaborating with other departments and regional and country offices. It aims to increase knowledge of gender issues by conducting selected research, training and advocacy on how socio-cultural factors and discrimination affect health.

While gender affects the health of both men and women, the department places special emphasis on the health consequences of discrimination against women that exist in nearly every culture. Powerful barriers including poverty, unequal power relationships between men and women, and lack of education prevent millions of women around the world from having access to health care and from attaining : and maintaining : the best possible health.

–Stephanie Farrior

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