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Review of gender mainstreaming in health.

The concept of "gender mainstreaming" evolved from attempts to improve women's share of the gains of development in the early 1970s. This paper aims to understand what has been achieved, and how to move forward, by drawing on experiences in gender mainstreaming in health since 1995. A literature search yielded less than a hundred publications. There were many tools and guidelines as well as descriptions of gender mainstreaming initiatives, but few provided insights into the processes or the outcomes.

National health policies and programmes that have gender integrally woven into their objectives and activities are rare. Health research to generate gender- and sex-specific data, and integrating gender in health provider training, have received scarce attention. Mainstreaming gender within institutions has remained superficial, investing more on form than on content. The apparent lack of progress in mainstreaming gender in health may be attributed to: depoliticisation and delinking of gender mainstreaming from social justice agendas, adoption of top-down approaches to mainstreaming, growing hostility within the global policy environment to the concerns of justice and equity, and increasing privatisation and retraction of the state's role in health. This paper suggests that the way forward is to frame gender concerns in the language of equity, fights and justice; to set agendas which consider gender inequity within the context of inequities by caste, class, ethnicity and other sources of health inequalities; and to work alongside other movements for social justice. (1)

(1.) Ravindran TKS, Kelkar-Khamhete A. Gender mainstreaming in health: looking back, looking forward. Global Public Health 2008;3(S1):121-42.
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Title Annotation:ROUND UP: Law and policy
Publication:Reproductive Health Matters
Article Type:Brief article
Date:Nov 1, 2008
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