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date: 18 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Politics, simply understood as who gets what, when, and how, is self-evidently central to health policy and health equity outcomes. The material, ideational, and institutional interests and power of stakeholders will determine whose health is given salience and who influences those decisions. Gender, understood as the roles, behaviours, activities, and attributes that are expected, allowed, and valued in a woman or man in any given context in turn impacts the influence and interests of those stakeholders. This chapter explores the impact of gender on health outcomes as well as the global health complex’s responding to or leveraging gender to ensure more equitable outcomes. The chapter begins by setting out the significant differences in the gendered distribution of health outcomes. It then presents a conceptual framework that explains the ways through which gender impacts those outcomes, namely how gender serves as and interacts with other determinants of health, how gender influences the differences in health-harming and health-affirming behaviours between men and women, and how gender impacts health programmes and delivery. The chapter provides a historical account of the manner in which global health organisations have treated (largely ignored) gender. It concludes with a discussion of the politics of health that explains why global health remains gender blind despite centuries of empirical evidence to suggest that it could be amongst the most influential determinants of health and promotes ideas of what will be required to ensure that global health is more gender responsive.

Keywords: gender, health, social determinants, politics, power

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