IntraHealth is committed to promoting gender equality as an integral part of development, recognizing that if gender-based disparities and inequalities are not addressed in human resources development and health service delivery, they may undermine the achievement of health program, service and development objectives. Gender differences and inequalities are embedded in structural inequalities that translate into unequal opportunities for education, economic development, access to health care and ultimately, unequal access to good health based on gender. IntraHealth works with partners, clients, state institutions, policy makers and civil society to develop appropriate strategies to eliminate gender-based discrimination, gender-based violence and gender-based barriers to service access, use and quality. IntraHealth’s gender strategy, which we adapt to local needs and opportunities, has three major components:
- End discrimination and promote equal opportunity and treatment in employment, training and education in human resources (HR) projects to address women’s often more vulnerable position in the labor market.
- Respond to gender-based violence. IntraHealth improves the capacity of the health system to respond to clients who live with violence through improved diagnosis, risk assessment and counseling, safety planning, referral and community outreach.
- Strengthen service delivery and systems linkages to address socio-economic determinants of health. This strategic component aims to strengthen the health system’s response to the socioeconomic determinants of health, such as poverty, gender inequality and educational status, and to mitigate the resulting gender barriers to health service access and use.
Our HIV/AIDS Program Strategy incorporates women’s socioeconomic empowerment as a prevention and impact mitigation strategy and sensitizes service managers and providers to respond to the possibility of gender-based violence as a result of positive serostatus disclosure.
In Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania we promote non-discrimination and equal opportunity and treatment in education, training and employment by removing gender barriers to workforce participation to achieve in the fullest possible pool of formal and nonformal workers. This includes:
- Protecting workers from violence and discrimination
- Ensuring equal access to education and training, employment, promotion, remuneration
- Facilitating choice in health profession and occupation
- Facilitating workforce entry and re-entry for women after pregnancy.
IntraHealth’s gender equality interventions include policy development, training, technical assistance, research, and workforce capacity building. IntraHealth has ongoing or completed gender activities in Armenia, Bangladesh, Burundi, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Rwanda, Senegal, and Yemen. New initiatives are planned for Namibia, Tanzania, and Zambia.
On the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, we are pleased to see the growth in commitment to gender equality in the workforce and in health service delivery yet we know there is a lot more work to be done. You can follow IntraHealth’s Gender Equality work here and here.