Gender transformation aims to change gender inequities at the same time as improving health. Some of the ways that programs and policies may transform gender relations include (3, 27):
- Encouraging critical awareness of gender roles and norms;
- Promoting the position of women relative to men;
- Challenging the imbalance of power, distribution of resources, and allocation of duties and roles between women and men;
- Addressing the unequal power relationships between women and health care providers;
- Engage men in women’s empowerment approaches through information sharing, raising interest and support, or empowerment strategies for less empowered men
Not all approaches to gender integration lead to gender transformation. In the following section, we examine how gender integration can exploit, accommodate or transform gender norms, roles and relations. As you will see, health promotion programs and policies should not use an exploitive approach under any circumstances. While gender accommodating approaches can be important to improving health outcomes in the short-term, long-lasting change requires transformative approaches that address the root causes of gender imbalances in power, resources or opportunities that lead to differences in health outcomes in the first place.
What is gender mainstreaming?
Gender mainstreaming is the public policy concept of assessing the different implications for women and men of any planned policy action, including legislation and programmes, in all areas and levels. Mainstreaming uses a pluralistic approach that values the diversity among both women and men (28).