28 February 2019 GMT

Building health systems that transform gender norms

Nairobi, Kenya

Health systems are shaped by, and contribute to, gender norms. How these norms influence the function of the health system, the treatment of people working within them, and the ways that service users are dealt with, differ according to context. There has been little attention paid to the gendered-nature of health systems and the role that gender norms, roles, and relations play in shaping health system experiences and outcomes. Harnessing the power of health systems - which most citizens interact with throughout the life-course - could pay powerful dividends in terms of social change and contribute to promoting equity throughout the society. 

Meeting objective
To explore the ways that gender norms shape the health system and its outcomes in Kenya and beyond; by bringing together academics/researchers who use a gender and intersectional approach to their study of the health system, together with policy makers and practitioners to explore the promise of these approaches. The meeting was separated into three thematic sessions: 1) Access to services for marginalised groups 2) Community health systems and 3) Governance. The panel discussions acted as a prompt to encourage the audience to think more deeply about the Kenyan health system and ways that policy and practice may need to change in order to tackle gender inequity. Learning from the event will feed into practical tools for researchers, policy makers and practitioners seeking to apply an intersectional gender approach to their health systems work.