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Gender Equity and Equality Print E-mail

Cross-Cutting Initiatives / Gender Equity and Equality

The public health workforce in developing countries is predominantly female. Addressing gender inequality and discrimination in human resources for health (HRH) policy and planning, workforce development and workplace support is essential in tackling the complex challenges of improving access to services, by positively influencing HRH recruitment, retention and productivity. The Capacity Project focused systematically on the relations between men and women and how these may affect differences and inequalities in opportunity for education, training, occupation and health labor market participation. The Project emphasized integration of gender into HRH planning and leadership, workforce development and performance support to ensure that men and women contribute to social and economic development through active involvement in public life and in the labor market, address workforce shortages by maximizing opportunities and address poverty alleviation through employment. The Project’s gender strategy objectives included:

  1. Strengthen HRH planning and leadership to promote gender equality
  2. Increase gender integration in education, training and work
  3. Create supportive, fair and safe work environments.

Major results areas include increased staff capacity to implement gender work, a workplace violence study in Rwanda and a study on men as providers of HIV/AIDS care in Lesotho.

Lessons learned:

  1. Gender is a key factor in planning, developing and supporting the health workforce in low-resource settings.
  2. Finding leadership champions at headquarters and in the field, providing accountability mechanisms and leveraging funding are keys to successfully integrating gender equality into an HRH project.
  3. Addressing specific workplace/health worker issues that linked gender inequalities to recruitment, productivity and retention contributed to policy change.
  4. Developing women’s leadership capacity through professional associations and strengthening their communication and advocacy skills helps them to articulate HRH issues and push for policy changes.
  5. Investments in sex-disaggregated human resources information systems and other data and capacity-building are key to further developing HRH strategies, policies and interventions that address gender inequality as it impacts workforce recruitment, productivity and retention.

Learn more about the Project’s gender equity and equality results.

Related resources:

See other areas in Cross-Cutting Initiatives: Integrating FBOs and NGOs; Global Partnerships


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