Gender, equity and human rights

Anchoring universal health coverage in the right to health: What difference would it make?

Universal health coverage (UHC) is a critical component of the new Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 3 which calls for ensuring healthy lives for all. Making progress towards UHC truly universal involves anchoring it in the right to health in order to provide coverage to all people, including vulnerable and marginalized individuals. The policy brief “Anchoring universal health coverage in the right to health: What difference would it make?” examines the gaps that exist between the efforts to realize the right to health and the efforts towards achieving UHC. Addressing these gaps would unmask exclusions and ensure policies are devised to allow all individuals to be included in the health system and fulfil the human right to health.

International Geneva Gender Champions

The World Health Organization is pleased to announce its support to the International Geneva Gender Champions. This initiative, led by the United Nations Office at Geneva and the Permanent Mission of the United States, is a leadership network that brings together female and male decision-makers to break down gender barriers. Forty diplomatic missions and twenty international organizations based in Geneva, including WHO, have signed on as Champions and have taken the Gender Panel Parity Pledge which aims to increase representation of female experts in panels.

Inter-American Convention on Protecting the Human Rights of Older Persons

Smiling old man
Sebastián Oliel/PAHO/WHO

October 1st marks the International Day of Older Persons. The WHO World Report on Ageing and Health, which highlights evidence on what health and social care systems can do to support healthy ageing, will be launched globally on September 30 in Washington, D.C. by the WHO Director-General and the Regional Director for the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). PAHO is also actively contributing to the development of a WHO Global Strategy and Action Plan on Ageing and Health, under consultation with Member States and other stakeholders, which is guided by key principles such as human rights, equality and non-discrimination, gender equality, equity and intergenerational solidarity.

Ending violence and discrimination against LGBTI

29 September 2015 - Recognising that violence and discrimination present a significant barrier to health and health services, including for HIV and other STIs, this joint inter-agency statement calls on governments, parliaments, judiciaries, national human rights institutions, community, religious, political leaders, workers’ organizations, the private sector, health providers, civil society organizations and the media to stand up to discrimination in all its forms, in line with the mandate of the UN.


fact buffet

1 in 3women has experienced either physical or sexual violence from her partner;

More on gender

99%of maternal deaths occur in developing countries

More on equity

100 millionpeople globally are pushed below the poverty line every year as a result of health care expenditure

More on human rights

Sustainable Development Goals

SDGs info graphic

Gender, equity and human rights in the Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) make up a set of targets developed in a holistic manner to guide future development projects

Gender, health and the Sustainable Development Goals

Dr Veronica Magar's commentary, November 2015
"It is time to build upon hard-won accomplishments of gender and women’s health with an expanded social justice perspective."

Getting finance to work for women and children

Dr Flavia Bustreo, WHO Assistant Director-General
"...without adequate financing the poorest and more marginalized people around the world will continue do forfeit good health."

Recent highlights

Human rights in the new Global Strategy

Published in the Special Supplement of the British Medical Journal in September 2015
"By recognising the centrality of human rights, the revised Global Strategy encourages some bold shifts in improving the health and wellbeing of women, children, and adolescents..." say Jyoti Sanghera and colleagues

Statement by the High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein

Opening of the 30th session of the Human Rights Council
".... I implore decision-makers in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific – as well as Europe – to take swift action to establish effective and principled migration governance."

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

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