Thought of the Moment
In theory, gender is a major factor in designing global health programs. They are gender-sensitive, and gender-balanced. Our monitoring and evaluation data is gender disaggregated. We should have this whole gender issue completely wrapped up.
In practice, though, things look different. “Gender” has turned into just another word for women. We don’t think about the complicated aspects of gender-sensitive programming. We just try to make sure that women get a voice in our work. And that’s important. That’s incredibly important. But it’s not thinking about gender. It’s thinking about women.
And when we only think about women, we miss some major points. Here’s one: men die younger than women, pretty much everywhere in the world. But we design most of our health programs around women. Here’s another: gender is a social construct, distinct from biological sex. But we rarely think about transgender people, or their needs, when we think about health programs.