Occupational health

Gender equality, work and health: A review of the evidence

Prepared by Dr Karen Messing, CINBIOSE, Université du Québec, Montréal, Canada and Dr Piroska Östlin from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, with input from Dr Claudia García-Moreno, Department of Gender, Women and Health (GWH) and Dr Gerry Eijkemans, Occupational and Environmental Health Unit in the Department of Public Health and Environment (PHE), WHO
© World Health Organization 2006
ISBN 92 4 159353 9

6 November 2006

This publication documents the relationship between gender inequality and health and safety problems. It reviews gender issues in research, policies and programmes on work and health, and highlights some specific issues for women, including the types of jobs they do, as well as their need to reconcile the demands of work and family. Biological differences between women and men also are considered in relation to hazards they face in the workplace. Implications of the findings and recommendations for legislation and policy are discussed.

Women will be more and more involved in the global workforce, in both formal and informal work. In ensuring economic survival for themselves and their families they employ a variety of strategies, some of which entail great danger for their health. This review highlights the necessity to strengthen and put in place more and better programmes and practices so as to ensure women’s health and safety at work, while facilitating their access to economic and social equality.