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A thorn in the side: launch of the UCL Centre for Gender and Global Health

GuestBlogger6 March 2017

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By Dr Geordan Shannon, UCL Institute for Global Health 

UCL is known for challenging the status quo. It was with this sentiment that the UCL Centre for Gender and Global Health was officially launched on the 16th February 2017.

Led by Professor Sarah Hawkes, the centre will reach beyond academia to work with policy-makers and policy-influencers to address the complex relationship between gender and health.

A global community of change makers and thought leaders converged to discuss innovations in gender and global health research. The daylong event included keynotes, interactive panels, film screenings, Q&A sessions and a networking reception.

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Images: Ilan Kelman ilankelman.org

Keynotes

The keynote panellists spoke about key challenges to gender and global health research, policy and action.

Rachel Jewkes, the Director of the South African Medical Research Council’s Gender and Health Research Unit, shared new directions in gender-based violence interventions and highlighted feminist approaches to resilience.

Benno de Keijzer, Professor of Health and Masculinities at Universidad Veracruzana and co-founder of the NGO Salud y Género, challenged the concept of hegemonic masculinity and how it relates to both men’s and women’s wellbeing.

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Gender equality in Latin America: creating policy environments that achieve success

Sophie EPleterski12 March 2014

“The message of gender equality still resonates over a century after it was first proposed by the revolutionary Clara Zetkin.”

One of the opening statements of Professor Maxine Molyneux’s Lunch Hour Lecture reminded us that with International Women’s Day on 8 March, it was the perfect time to consider what has been achieved by the UN Millennium Development Goal to “promote gender equality and empower women” since the year 2000.

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Brazilian woman holding ‘equal?’ sign

Few people in the UK have heard of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and only about a third of the audience today.

This was a good proportion according to Professor Molyneux (Institute of the Americas), despite our very own David Cameron co-chairing the UN panel responsible for the post-2015 agenda for development goals – a fact that amused some members of the audience (perhaps thinking of recent criticisms about the all-male Tory front bench).

But with the democratic representation of women in the UK at only 22% compared with Latin America’s average of 25%, and our mediocre ranking of 26 on the Gender Inequality Index, perhaps we should be paying a bit more attention.

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Does gender make you sick?

newseditor18 December 2013

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Written by Thea Cassel (UCL Geography 2012), Communications Assistant at UCL

Of the multiple meanings that the lecture title alludes to, Dr Sarah Hawkes (Institute for Global Health) addressed the problems of targeting just one half of the population in relation to global health.

Why, when using the term ‘gender’, do businesses and health organisations actually mean women? And why, when looking at policy responses to global health, do they focus on the group that is in reality the least at risk?

The first thing that struck me as I looked around the lecture theatre was the good turnout of both men and women, as well as a large gaggle of teenagers attending on a school trip.

Does gender make you sick?From previous experience, the mention of the word ‘gender’ quickly equates to just ‘women’ and more often than not it is predominantly women who take an interest in the subject – an issue that was subsequently tackled in the lecture. I was pleasantly surprised, therefore, to see a large number of men in the audience.

The lecture began with Dr Hawkes looking back at her initial interest in gender analysis from her work in Bangladesh, where she worked for the largest research organisation in a developing country. (more…)

Is gender making us sick

newseditor2 July 2013

pencil-icon Written by James Smiths, Global Health & Development MSc student at the UCL Institute for Global Health

At a recent symposium, Dr Sarah Hawkes, co-author of the recent ‘Gender and global health: evidence, policy, and inconvenient truths’, presented a compelling argument that gender is a significant, yet misunderstood, determinant of health.

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Dr Jenny Parkes (Institute of Education) and
Dr Julian Walker (UCL Bartlett Development Planning Unit)

It is well known that health disparities exist between men and women. A quick glance at the latest World Health Organisation figures reveals that only three countries report a higher life expectancy for men than for women: Qatar, Tonga, and Tuvalu.

Other high-profile research such as the 2012 Global Burden of Disease study identified that the most common diseases disproportionately affect men.

In order to avoid confusion, the panelists and members of the audience were quick to note that health programmes focusing on women and girls clearly play an important role, in light of the significant impact that gender inequalities have on girls and women.

However, these programmes are complementary to, but not fully representative of, efforts to promote gender equity in health. (more…)