Gender, equity and human rights

Health is a fundamental human right

The right to health means ending discrimination in all healthcare settings

10 DECEMBER 2017 – “The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition”. Almost 70 years after these words were adopted in WHO's constitution, they are more powerful and relevant than ever. Since day one, the right to health has been central to WHO’s identity and mandate.

Highlighting women’s contributions to sustainable development through work in health

1 DECEMBER 2017 – A new publication gives direction and detail to a richer and more holistic understanding of the health workforce through the presentation of new evidence and solutions based on focused analysis. The second chapter of the report lays out women’s contributions to sustainable development through work in health.

“Generation 2.0” of UN-SWAP previewed at WHO Headquarters in Geneva

22 NOVEMBER 2017 – A 4-day workshop was held at WHO Headquarters in Geneva last week to take stock of progress made in the first 5 years of the UN System-wide Action Plan on Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (UN-SWAP 1.0). Dr Veronica Magar, Team Leader, Gender, Equity and Human Rights highlighted WHO's perspective, saying “We need to be empowered to defend our rights, tackle discrimination to address biases… pay gaps, missed opportunities, unpaid work…collectively through social movements that inspire us. We also need to share our stories, collectively.”

Migrant women care workers buttress health systems around the world, but their own health is at stake

the hand of a young woman holding the hand of an ageing person
Matthias Zomer

21 NOVEMBER 2017 – All over the world, as more women are entering the workforce and away from traditional unpaid care roles in the home, they are migrating in the same numbers as men. Many of these migrant women are taking on personal care work in informal and home-based settings, often without access to social protection or labour rights, and health care. A new WHO report calls attention to an emerging paradox: that migrant women care workers buttress health and social care systems and contribute to global public health and well-being, while their own health care and other needs may be unfulfilled.

Agreement signed between WHO and UN Human Rights agency to advance work on health and human rights

21 NOVEMBER 2017 – Today marked a significant milestone for health and human rights as WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein signed an agreement to deepen collaboration between their agencies. The agreement responds to the recommendations of the High Level Working Group for the Health and Human Rights of Women, Children and Adolescents.

Building capacity for reducing health inequalities: Regional GER Workshop kicks off in Tanzania

Participants to the Regional workshop to strengthen country capacities to promote and facilitate the institutional mainstreaming of gender, equity, human rights and social determinants

6 – 9 NOVEMBER 2017 – The WHO Regional Office for Africa organized a Regional workshop to strengthen country capacities to promote and facilitate the institutional mainstreaming of gender, equity, human rights and social determinants within national health programmes designed to improve reproductive, maternal, and newborn, child and adolescent health. The meeting gathered programme managers from WHO Headquarters, Regional and Country Offices; and Ministries of Health and Ministries of Gender from Ghana, Liberia, Malawi, Nigeria, Swaziland, and Tanzania.

Dr Tedros advocates for women’s health and gender equality at G7 Health Ministers meeting

Dr Tedros at G7 2017
International Gender Champions

5 NOVEMBER 2017 – At the G7 Health Ministers’ meeting in Milan, Italy, Dr Tedros highlighted the importance of promoting women’s health and fighting for gender equality. He said, “We must ensure that women have access to sexual and reproductive health services so that every woman can decide whether, when and with whom she has a baby…But we must go further. Ultimately we must address the root cause of all these issues by fighting for gender equality. In large part, the battle for women’s health is a battle for hearts and minds.”

International Day of the Girl Child 2017: EmPOWER Girls

11 OCTOBER 2017 – WHO joins individuals, communities and organizations worldwide in marking this year’s International Day of the Girl Child. This event commemorates the importance of gender equality and human rights for the well-being and health of girls and young women everywhere. It recognizes that empowering girls to achieve their full potential is also essential for their families and for their societies.

How human rights help ensure high-quality contraceptive services

Information of women about contraception
Haydee Lemus/Photoshare

26 SEPTEMBER 2017 – Today is World Contraception Day. Recognition that human rights are of critical importance in the design and provision of contraceptive services and programmes is growing. How healthcare providers and facility managers ensure that human rights aspects are integrated into services is a challenge with many dimensions including the right of access to high-quality contraceptive services, autonomy and a choice of methods as well as the respectful provision of care.

fact buffet

GenderTo ensure that different groups of women and men, boys and girls, have equal opportunities to achieve their full health potential.

More on gender

EquityTo enhance fairness in the distribution of health across populations.

More on equity

Human rightsTo produce greater health outcomes through the advancement of the right to health and other health-related human rights.

More on human rights

Facts and features

Photo story (Western Pacific): Advancing health through GER

In this photo story, see how making gender, equity and human rights everyone’s responsibility is reshaping the way health policies and programmes are developed and implemented to benefit women, men, girls and boys across the Western Pacific Region.

Photo story: Snapshots of inequalities

People have vastly different stories to tell about their health depending on a variety of social determinants.

Frequently asked questons on health and sexual diversity

This FAQ defines terms, highlights key issues and underscores the UN’s commitment to gender identity and sexual diversity.

Frequently asked questions on migration

Abridged version of Migration and health: Key issues, published on the Regional Office for Europe website

We appreciate your visit to the Gender, Equity and Human Rights website. Plans are in development to have the site available in WHO's other official languages.

New resources

Innov8 approach for reviewing national health programmes

The Innov8 approach is a resource that supports the operationalization of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) commitment to “leave no one behind”.

Gender, equity and human rights team newsletter

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