New Resource Spotlight: Promoting Gender Equality in the Health Workforce: An Advocacy Tool

Health workers save lives, but the world doesn’t have enough health workers to meet the global demand. Many countries are striving to strengthen their health workforce and improve health outcomes, but health leaders may not be aware of the ways in which gender discrimination is impeding their efforts.

Gender discrimination hinders initiatives to develop and efficiently deploy the health workforce, which can result in maldistribution, absenteeism, and a limited pool of motivated health workers. This in turn negatively impacts the population’s access to high-quality health care.

When all health workers, whether male or female, have equal access to education, the health worker pipeline is strengthened. When they have an equal chance of being hired, fairly paid, and having equal opportunities to advance their careers, and when female health workers are supported through life events such as childbearing, this can lead to greater productivity and retention—and increased availability of essential health services.

Promoting Gender Equality in the Health WorkforceCapacityPlus’s Promoting Gender Equality in the Health Workforce: An Advocacy Tool is a new online resource that shows how advocacy can help to achieve gender equality goals. It was field-tested in Cross River State, Nigeria, where stakeholders drafted a strategic advocacy plan for gender equality in the health workforce and formed a Gender Working Group to follow up on these activities. 

The tool helps users to understand how common forms of gender discrimination can negatively affect the health workforce; assess whether workers may be experiencing one or more forms of discrimination; and successfully advocate and take action through policy-making and improved management to promote gender equality and strengthen the workforce.

To get started, explore this interactive resource:

  • Examine the ways in which data can be used to identify gender inequalities and to make decisions on the type of advocacy and action needed.
  • Identify strategies that can be implemented in your context.  

Leaders from national ministries of health, finance, labor, and education, as well as from health professional councils, health training institutions, and health facilities, can play a key role in promoting equal opportunity and addressing gender discrimination in the health workforce. These efforts will contribute to achieving health goals—including meeting the demand for family planning, ending preventable maternal and child deaths, and ensuring an AIDS-free generation.

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Photo by Rachel Deussom (health workforce stakeholders in Cross River State, Nigeria, discuss gender discrimination issues and develop an advocacy action plan to promote gender equality in the health workforce)