Over the last 25 years, there have been bold commitments towards tackling gender inequalities in global health, but these commitments have not been met by commensurate shifts in the underlying structural or systemic drivers of these inequalities.
Podcast Episode 1: The Disconnect Between “Gender Transformative” Language and Action in Global Health
Despite decades of commitments, talk remains the substitute for action in tackling gender inequalities in global health. For example, the development of treatments, vaccines, diagnostics, and other forms of medical innovation to this very day continue to neglect the health of women and girls. In this episode, we explore the misappropriation and misuse of gender-transformative language and the negative impact this has had on addressing gender inequalities in global health. We are joined by our host, Johanna Riha, and guest speaker Anju Malhotra, who talks to us about a provocative think piece she recently wrote on the topic. We also hear reactions to Anju’s think piece from Jennifer McCleary-Sills and Geeta Rao Gupta.
About our guest speakers:
- Johanna Riha, Research Fellow at UNU-IIGH and host of this podcast episode
- Anju Malhotra, Principal Visiting Fellow at UNU-IIGH
- Jennifer McCleary-Sills, Senior Program Officer, Gender Equality at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
- Geeta Rao Gupta, Senior Fellow at the United Nations Foundation
- Heather Doyle, “Gender Equality: Do what we say, not what we do,” The Graduate Institute of Geneva, 21 May 2021
- Geeta Rao Gupta’s speech from at the 13th International AIDS conference in Durban in 2000: Gupta, G. R. (2000). Gender, sexuality, and HIV/AIDS: the what, the why, and the how. Canadian HIV/AIDS Policy & Law Review, 5(4), 86–93.
Listen to episode one here
In this episode’s conversation, we explore the misappropriation and misuse of gender-transformative language and the negative impact this has had on addressing gender inequalities in global health.
Podcast Episode 2: Transforming Health Systems for Gender Equality
While women represent 70% of the global healthcare workforce, only 25% of them hold senior roles. One result of this bias is that health systems are not designed to address the needs of women and girls, and often reinforce gender inequalities. In this episode, host Johanna converses with three health system experts on what health system transformation for gender equality looks like. They also discuss how gender power inequalities manifest in health systems and how to better build bridges across movements working towards equality without side-lining any one agenda for maximising effectiveness.
About our guest speakers:
- Jean-Paul Dossou, Centre de Recherche en Reproduction Humaine et en Démographie, Bénin
- Lucy Gilson, University of Cape Town, School of Public Health and Family Medicine, South Africa
- Sreytouch Vong, Policy Manager, Enhancing Quality of Healthcare Activity, Cambodia
- “Jean-Paul Dossou : Payer avant d’accoucher est la première violence faite aux femmes”, Le Monde Afrique, 22 October 2019.
- Gautier et al, “Rethinking development interventions through the lens of decoloniality in sub-Saharan Africa: the case of global health”. Global Public Health (2020)https://doi.org/10.1080/17441692.2020.1858134
- Le Centre de Recherche en Reproduction Humaine et en Démographie (CERRHUD)
- Shung-King et al. “Leadership experiences and practices of South African health managers: what is the influence of gender? -a qualitative, exploratory study”. International Journal for Equity in Health (2018) 17:148. DOI https://doi.org/10.1186/s12939-018-0859-0
Listen to episode two here
In this episode, we focus specifically on health systems and what health system transformation for gender equality looks like. We start off by asking: how do gender inequalities manifest in health systems?
Podcast Episode 3: The Utility of “Gender Transformative” Language in Evaluating Health Programmes
Bold commitments towards gender equality in health must be met with concrete changes to the underlying structural and systemic drivers for true transformation to occur. In this episode, host Johanna hears perspectives from those evaluating health programmes. They discuss the utility of gender-transformative language in health programme evaluation and explore how programmes can change norms, attitudes, and power relations. The guest’s highlight that health programme evaluation is more than just rubber-stamping—saying whether an intervention was transformative or not. The work as evaluators has to go beyond this and be more comprehensive and complex to really analyse what parts of the programme benefit women independently of the outcome, giving communities a voice in this analysis. The episode ends with the call to use language strategically to drive gender equality in global health.
About our guest speakers:
- Faiza Benhadid, Senior Gender and Human Rights expert at UN and Centre for Arab Women for Training and Research (CAWTAR).
- Manuel Contreras-Urbina, Senior Social Development Specialist, The World Bank Group.
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