WHO/Europe works with Member States to identify the effects of gender differences and inequalities on the health of women and men in their countries, and to design responses.

Gender and health

Women and men differ in biology, the roles and responsibilities that society assigns to them and their positions in the family and community. This affects the risk they take, those they are exposed to, their efforts to improve their health, and how the health system responds to their needs. It may also have implications for the causes, consequences and management of disease and ill health.

A gender approach to health begins with the recognition of these differences and promotes the integration of gender as a social determinant of health into policy development, research, health services, resource allocation and project and programme planning, monitoring and implementation.

It aims to achieve greater impact on health and reduce inequities by:

  • collecting and using quantitative and qualitative sex disaggregated data;
  • understanding and analysing the differences (gender analysis);
  • developing gender responsive policies and interventions.

WHO/Europe follows the principles and guidance of the Strategy for integrating gender analysis and actions into the work of WHO approved by the World Health Assembly in 2007.