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

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

Summary

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.

Australia will never be HIV-free if access to prevention requires a medicare card

The Conversation, January 23, 2019 12.21pm AEDT

by Nicholas Medland, Sexual health physician and senior researcher, UNSW

Australia aims to “virtually eliminate” HIV transmission by 2022, according to the health minister’s new national HIV strategy. This ambitious goal has been made possible by biomedical HIV prevention, a new and highly effective way of preventing HIV using medications.

But new inequalities are emerging between those who can and can’t access these medications because of their Medicare eligibility. These inequalities may undermine the success of HIV elimination in Australia and threaten Australia’s international reputation as a safe place to study, work and live.

Read more of Australia will never be HIV-free if access to prevention requires a medicare card

 

Advertising (in)equality: the impacts of sexist advertising on women’s health and wellbeing

Women’s Health Victoria, Issues Paper No. 14, December 2018

 

The aim of this issues paper is to provide an overview of significant literature

currently published on the nature of gender portrayals in advertising, and the

impacts of these representations on women’s health and wellbeing, gender

inequality and attitudes and behaviours that support violence against women.

 

This issues paper found that the continued use of gender stereotypes

and increasing reliance on images that sexualise and objectify women in

advertisements undermines efforts to promote gender equality in Australia.

Gender-stereotyped portrayals limit the aspirations, expectations, interests and

participation of women and men in our society. These portrayals are associated

with a range of negative health and wellbeing outcomes and are highly

problematic for the prevention of family violence and other forms of violence

against women.

 

The studies cited in this paper demonstrate that there is a clear business

case for change. Brands, businesses and creative agencies can benefit from

portraying both women and men proportionately, respectfully and realistically.

 

Landmark report tells stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders with disability

 

Priorities for preventing a concentrated HIV epidemic among Aboriginal Australians

Priorities for preventing a concentrated HIV epidemic among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians

James S Ward, Karen Hawke and Rebecca J Guy
Med J Aust 2018; 209 (1): 56. || doi: 10.5694/mja17.01071
Published online: 2 July 2018
Greater efforts are required to prevent human immunodeficiency virus infection (HIV) escalating among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. Recently released national data highlight a 33% increase in new HIV diagnosis rates among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, from 4.8 per 100 000 population in 2012 to 6.4 per 100 000 population in 2016. In the same period, newly diagnosed HIV rates among Australian-born non-Indigenous people decreased by 22% (from 3.7 per 100 000 population in 2012 to 2.9 per 100 000 population in 2016).

Startling Data Reveals Half of LGBTQ Employees in the U.S. Remain Closeted at Work

Human Rights Campaign, June 25, 2018

The HRC Foundation released the results of a survey of employees across the USA, revealing the persistent daily challenges that have led nearly half of LGBTQ people to remain closeted at their workplaces — a rate largely unchanged over the past decade. 

A Workplace Divided: Understanding the Climate for LGBTQ Workers NationwideHRC’s third national workplace study over the past decade, shines a light on the often-intangible, nuanced issues in the workplace that keep LGBTQ workers “separate,” leaving many feeling distracted, exhausted or depressed, and believing they have nowhere to turn for help.

The survey of both LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ workers reveals that, despite significant progress in recent years — including the Supreme Court of the United State’s decision embracing marriage equality in 2015, as well as corporate policies and practices that increasing embrace LGBTQ inclusion, substantial barriers to full inclusion. Many of these barriers exist within interpersonal workplace connections, including non-work conversations or outings among coworkers.

  • The full report, A Workplace Divided: Understanding the Climate for LGBTQ Workers Nationwide, can be found here.