Gender Discrimination and Health Workforce Development: An Advocacy Tool

Advocate to Promote Gender Equality


This overview is designed to help you plan your advocacy work strategically by guiding you through the development of an advocacy strategy. An advocacy strategy can help you plan and coordinate advocacy efforts to promote equal opportunity, nondiscrimination, and gender equality in health workforce development.

Advocacy is defined as any action(s) directed at policy-makers or other decision-makers to change or review policies, positions, funding, programs, and/or legislation. Advocacy efforts can reform or remove harmful policies, or ensure the funding and implementation of supportive policies to benefit a constituency or institution at large. The aim of advocacy is to target and influence these key stakeholders to make decisions that would be favorable to your chosen issue in terms of policies, programs, and funding.

Advocacy should not be confused with information, education, and communication (IEC) efforts, which target individuals or communities with the objectives of achieving change in their awareness, attitudes, beliefs, and actions for their own benefit. However, advocacy and behavior change communication/IEC efforts are similar in that they both undergo a process to identify and segment audiences; undertake research to clarify issues; develop strategies and messages; and monitor and evaluate results.

In this section, CapacityPlus describes a three-phase, nine-step advocacy approach adapted from the Partners in Population and Development (PPD) Advance Family Planning Strategy, which has been adapted and applied in public health contexts across sub-Saharan Africa. This approach will help guide you to build consensus, focus efforts, and achieve change.

Click on the text next to the arrows below to review all nine steps of advocacy strategy development. In addition, you can review examples of how the various recommendations were applied in country advocacy efforts that have been undertaken to address gender discrimination at health professional education institutions and systems.

The Resources page lists resources and examples of advocacy efforts for promoting gender equality in health workforce development.