Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality

Women’s empowerment and equality is a fundamental human right and critical to achieve development objectives, including health. Women’s increased political participation, control of resources including land, access to employment and education are crucial for promoting sustainable development.

There are numerous pathways by which greater gender equality can lead to improvements in health and quality of life for women and their family members. Women with greater agency are more likely to have fewer children, more likely to access health services and have control over health resources, and less likely to suffer domestic violence. Their children are more likely to survive, receive better childcare at home and receive health care when they need it. At the same time, improved health outcomes for women can help to strengthen their own agency and empowerment.

Healthy women are more able to actively participate in society and markets and take collective action to advance their own interests. They are likely to have greater bargaining power and control over resources within the household. Therefore collaborative action between gender and health can help maximize the impact of gender policies on health and vice versa.