Gender, equity and human rights

Standing #WithRefugees on World Refugee Day

A refugee child in a classroom

20 JUNE 2017 – Today is World Refugee Day. The 70th World Health Assembly endorsed a Resolution on “Promoting the health of refugees and migrants.” Key points that emerged through the sessions included unanimous consensus that health must be included in the Global Compacts and the need for interregional and international cooperation and responsibility sharing among countries in responding to the health needs of refugees and migrants.

Leaving no one behind: Equity, gender and human rights policy to practice

Participants to the side event 26 May 2017: leaving no one behind

26 MAY 2017 – The global principle behind the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, “leave no one behind,” is often thought of as a lofty and ambiguous goal. A side event held during the 70th World Health Assembly sought to showcase specific actions that countries are taking to operationalize this principle.

World No Tobacco Day 2017

Young woman smoking, Russia
WHO/Sergey Volkov

31 MAY 2017 – Today is World No Tobacco Day. Action to stamp out tobacco use can help countries prevent millions from falling ill and dying from tobacco-related disease and combat poverty. Tobacco threatens women in particular. The tobacco industry targets women by implying that tobacco use enhances gender equality, glamour, sociability and success. In addition, 60%-70% of tobacco farm workers are women, putting them in close contact with often hazardous chemicals.

High-Level Working Group on health and human rights handover their final report to WHO’s Director-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Launch of the high level working group on health and human rights report
WHO/L. Cipriani

22 MAY 2017 – The High-Level Working Group for Health and Human Rights of Women, Children and Adolescents launched its report to an enthusiastic audience at a high-level side-event at the 70th World Health Assembly. The report – the first of its kind that will be presented both to the World Health Assembly and the Human Rights Council – calls on governments to step up their action to uphold the right to health in national law; to protect people who advocate for rights – including health workers; and to strengthen the collection of rights-sensitive data for better monitoring and reporting.

International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia 2017

UNAIDS Illustration for the celebration of the day against homophobia

17 MAY 2017 – Today is the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia. UN-GLOBE, the group that represents lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and intersex staff of the UN system, has released a statement, calling on all UN staff members to embrace inclusion of peoples of all sexual or gender identities in their programmatic work, and in daily interactions at work.

WHO and partners recommend actions to improve adolescent health

Two mekong youth enjoy time together.

16 MAY 2017 – More than 3000 adolescents die every day from largely preventable causes, according to a new report from WHO and partners. In 2015, more than two-thirds of these deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries in Africa and South-East Asia. Road injuries top the cause of death of adolescents, disproportionately affecting boys, while lower respiratory infections and pregnancy complications take toll on girls’ health.

Leaving no one behind on the path towards good health in Mongolia

15 MAY 2017 - Around the world, many people are left behind from accessing the health services they need. WHO advocates for “Leaving no one behind,” an underlying principle of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, through its work on health systems strengthening towards the goal of universal health coverage. With the aim of identifying subpopulations being left behind and working towards better addressing their needs, a process is being undertaken in 2016-2017 to reinforce this focus in subnational health sector planning in Mongolia.

Human rights at WHO: Lessons from the past, voices from the present and perspectives for the future

An old man with a baby in his arms
World Bank/Allison Kwesell

27 APRIL 2017 - For many, the Sustainable Development Goals mark the beginning of a new era for health and human rights – grounded in international law, and designed to ensure no one is left behind. Responding to interest from scholars in the burgeoning field of health and human rights, WHO invited senior staff and scholars to share their perspectives - historical, political, technical and legal - on the organization’s work.

Women are the drivers of sustainable development


5 APRIL 2017 - Food safety is essential to good nutrition and health, which are vital to sustainable development. WHO estimates that every year, 1 in 10 people fall ill and 125,000 children under 5 years of age die from foodborne diseases. In many parts of the world, women grow and prepare the food that is sold in markets and consumed in homes, but they don’t always have access to food safety education. Efforts to improve food safety must consider the key role women play in improving the health, nutrition and development of their communities.

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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