Gender and Health
Gender inequality in families and in society can harm women’s and girls’ health and even threaten their lives.
Gender is the social and cultural expression of biological sex. In all countries of the world, being born male or female shapes strikingly different destinies. Gender roles, reflecting both physical differences and complementary functions in family and community, vary widely between cultures and between epochs. However, in practically all cases, these contrasting roles give more power and freedom to males than to females.
In the domain of health, focussed on women’s reproductive role, this imbalance of power manifests itself, for instance, in harmful traditional practices such as Female Genital Mutilation, early marriage and early pregnancy. Women in all societies are disproportionately victims of domestic violence, and each year almost 300,000 women die from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth, 99% of them in developing countries.
Equal rights, equal duties, equal opportunities and equal power for women and men are basic principles of German development policy. Promoting gender equality is therefore a cross-cutting task for all areas of German development cooperation.
The materials assembled on this page include toolkits, studies and articles documenting Germany’s long and active involvement promoting gender equality in health.