New Article Highlights Need to Address Gender Discrimination in Health Workplaces

Incidences of workplace violence in Rwandan health facilities are influenced by gender inequality, concludes a study published this month by IntraHealth International’s Constance Newman in the journal Human Resources for Health.

Health center in RwandaThe study, “Workplace violence and gender discrimination in Rwanda’s health workforce: Increasing safety and gender equality,” draws on a survey of 297 health workers and other data from 44 health facilities. Almost 40% of health workers reported experiencing some form of violence on the job during the previous year.

The study recommends addressing gender discrimination and violence simultaneously, citing links between violence and gender-related factors such as negative stereotypes of women; discrimination based on pregnancy, maternity, and family responsibilities; and “glass ceiling” barriers to women’s career advancement. 

Through the Capacity Project, the predecessor to CapacityPlus, IntraHealth assisted Rwanda’s Ministry of Public Service and Labor and Ministry of Health in conducting the study in 2007-2008. Rwandan stakeholders are using the results to make recommendations for policy changes and programs to address gender-based violence. The findings have already contributed to a revision of the national labor laws to address protection of workers against violence and prohibition of discrimination in work matters.

Newman is IntraHealth’s senior team leader for gender equality and health.

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Photo by Catherine Murphy. (Entrance to a health center in Rwanda)