In the face of global commitments to achieve gender equality and substantially improve health outcomes by 2030, the time is right to unpick the complex gender/health relationship and identify appropriate and effective solutions to catalyse and sustain gender-responsive change within systems and sectors. Given that health outcomes are only partially driven by the activities of the health system, this requires understanding and addressing the impact of gender across the social/structural determinants of health too. Questions of what, for example, the impact of achieving gender equality within current economic, legal and political systems will be: will women simply adopt previously ‘male risks’ associated with unhealthy working environments and health-harming behaviours, thus increasing poor health outcomes? Or can a more feminist approach be taken: one that recognises that for health outcomes to be improved for everyone, substantial systemic change is needed – not just gender equality within existing systems, but a more disruptive and radical approach to achieving both rights-based gender equality and health equity through structural change.
The Lancet Commission will be a cross- and inter-disciplinary commission drawing on five core principles: global, feminist, political, intersectional and SDG-relevant, to address three objectives:
Develop and disseminate an innovative conceptual framework showing the relationship between gender equality, health equity and the social determinants of health across multiple systems – economic, legal, political, commercial, etc;
Identify clear evidence of “what works” in gender-responsive policies and programmes across all sectors for achieving both gender equality and health equity;
Agree and promote a politically-informed, feasible, acceptable and effective strategy to embed gender-responsive structural change within multisectoral global health, focused on both health systems and health determinants.