Disrupting gender norms in health systems: making the case for change

The Lancet, Gender Equality, Norms, and Health Steering Committee, Published May 30, 2019


Restrictive gender norms and gender inequalities are replicated and reinforced in health systems, contributing to gender inequalities in health.
In this Series paper, we explore how to address all three through recognition and then with disruptive solutions.
We used intersectional feminist theory to guide our systematic reviews, qualitative case studies based on lived experiences, and quantitative analyses based on cross-sectional and evaluation research.
We found that health systems reinforce patients’ traditional gender roles and neglect gender inequalities in health, health system models and clinic-based programmes are rarely gender responsive, and women have less authority as health workers than men and are often devalued and abused.
With regard to potential for disruption, we found that gender equality policies are associated with greater representation of female physicians, which in turn is associated with better health outcomes, but that gender parity is insufficient to achieve gender equality. We found that institutional support and respect of nurses improves quality of care, and that women’s empowerment collectives can increase health-care access and provider responsiveness.
We see promise from social movements in supporting women’s reproductive rights and policies. Our findings suggest we must view gender as a fundamental factor that predetermines and shapes health systems and outcomes. Without addressing the role of restrictive gender norms and gender inequalities within and outside health systems, we will not reach our collective ambitions of universal health coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals. We propose action to systematically identify and address restrictive gender norms and gender inequalities in health systems.

The laws that sex workers really want (video)

(Via SIN, April 2017)

Laws can be complicated, but the sex worker community agrees on decriminalisation. Watch sex worker and activist Juno Mac unpack the different legal frameworks that affect sex workers, and then explain that decriminalisation is the only way forward.

“If you care about gender equality or poverty or migration or public health, then sex worker rights matter to you,” she says. “Make space for us in your movements.”

  • Watch the TED talk here


The sexual politics of domestic violence and women’s citizenship

The Seventh South Australian Women’s and Gender Studies Annual Public Lecture

To be delivered by Professor Suzanne Franzway, Emeritus Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies at the University of South Australia

6pm Thursday 6th October at Flinders University Victoria Square: Level 2, 182 Victoria Square (southeast corner of the Flinders Street and  Victoria Square intersection)

Everyone is welcome, there is no cost.

Chair: Sarah Wendt, Professor in Social Work, Flinders University

Suzanne Franzway’s work is motivated by the puzzles and passions of the politics of everyday life and social justice. Suzanne’s books include Challenging Knowledge, Sex and Power: Gender, Work and Engineering (2013); Making Feminist Politics: Transnational Alliances between Women and Labor (2011); Sexual Politics and Greedy Institutions: Union Women, Commitments and Conflicts in Public and in Private (2001) and Staking a Claim: Feminism, Bureaucracy and the State (Allen & Unwin, 1989).She is a long standing member of the Management Committee of the Working Women’s Centre.

The Public Lecture promotes the presence of feminist scholarship and related critical intellectual work in our universities; brings together a community interested in feminist work; and creates a public opportunity to hear a prominent scholar talk about their work.

Sponsored by Women’s Studies, School of Social and Policy Studies at Flinders University; the Discipline of Gender Studies and Social Analysis and the Fay Gale Centre for Research on Gender at the University of Adelaide; and the Research Centre for Gender Studies at the University of South Australia.

Please RSVP (and for more information please contact)

Download flyer (PDF)  here 7th Gender Studies Annual Lecture A4 Flyer-2

Has it become racist to condemn FGM?

FGM, like veiling is not a practice confined to far off lands. FGM continues to be practiced illegally on British born girls, with a case reported in the UK approximately every 2 hours. If FGM is carried out on a white child in Britain, it will be regarded as criminal – so why does this position shift when a Somali child is violated?

Read more here