Gender Discrimination and Health Workforce Development: An Advocacy Tool


Choose a resource type:





Advocacy: An action directed at changing the policies, positions, or programs of any type of institution

Advocacy goal: A long-term objective to describe the overall vision, mission, or purpose of the change in policy, position, or program that you seek to make

Advocacy objective: A brief statement of intent describing the specific outcome sought in the short term that is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound

Advocacy quick-win: A discrete, critical policy or funding decision that must occur in the near term to achieve a broader advocacy goal

Caregiver responsibilities discrimination: Exclusions, restrictions, or distinctions against individuals based on pregnancy, childbirth, or family responsibilities

Equal opportunity and nondiscrimination: The offering of employment, pay, or promotion to all, without discrimination as to sex, race, color, disability, and other factors

Family responsibilities discrimination: Exclusions, restrictions, or distinctions against individuals (such as pregnant women, mothers and fathers of young children, parents of disabled children, and individuals who care for their aging parents or sick spouses/partners) based on their responsibilities to care for family members

Gender: the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women (WHO n.d.)

Gender discrimination: Any distinction, exclusion, or restriction made on the basis of socially defined gender roles and norms that prevents a person from enjoying full human rights

Gender equality in the health workforce: A condition where women and men can enter the health occupation of their choice, develop the requisite skills and knowledge, be fairly paid, enjoy fair and safe working conditions, and advance in a career, without reference to gender. It implies that health professional education institutions and workplaces are structured to integrate family and work to reflect the value of caregiving for women and men.

Gender stereotyping: Rigid, oversimplified, generalized ideas of the differences between women and men, including essential traits, skills, attitudes, ambitions, or behaviors. Gender stereotyping underlies most forms of gender discrimination by promoting the idea that there are attitudes, appearances, or behaviors shared by all men or all women. These stereotypes generally reinforce women’s traditionally inferior role in the workforce, often limiting women’s opportunities for equal education, recruitment, promotion, and training.

Gender-transformative (interventions): An approach that seeks to transform gender relations to promote equality by: 1) fostering critical examination of inequalities and gender roles, norms, and dynamics; 2) recognizing and strengthening positive norms that support equality and an enabling environment; 3) promoting the relative position of women, girls, and marginalized groups; and 4) changing the underlying social structures, policies, and broadly held social norms that perpetuate gender inequalities

Occupational segregation: The concentration of women and men in different occupations, jobs, and tasks, or at different levels in an employment or job hierarchy

Pregnancy discrimination: Exclusions, restrictions, or distinctions made on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions, such as unwillingness to hire, promote, or retain female students or workers who may get pregnant and leave school or the workforce or who require maternity leave and benefits 

Sex: The biological and physiological characteristics that define men and women (WHO)

Sexual harassment: Unwanted, unwelcome, or offensive conduct of a sexual nature that changes the terms and conditions of school or work, where either a person’s rejection of, or submission to, such conduct is used explicitly or implicitly as a basis for a decision that affects that person’s career; or conduct that creates an intimidating, hostile, or humiliating work environment for the recipient

Wage discrimination: Systematically paying lower wages and/or reduced benefits to women or minorities not based on objective differences in the work performed, seniority, education, qualifications, experience, or productivity


Advocacy materials, tools, and examples

Gender, preservice, and higher education

Gender and the health workforce

Gender and health systems