Posted by in on August 26, 2014

Gender equity and sexual and reproductive health in Eastern and Southern Africa: a critical overview of the literature

Background: Gender inequalities are important social determinants of health. We set out to critically review the literature relating to gender equity and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) in Eastern and Southern Africa with the aim of identifying priorities for action.

Design: During November 2011, we identified studies relating to SRH and gender equity through a comprehensive literature search.

Results: We found gender inequalities to be common across a range of health issues relating to SRH with women being particularly disadvantaged. Social and biological determinants combined to increase women’s vulnerability to maternal mortality, HIV, and gender-based violence. Health systems significantly disadvantaged women in terms of access to care. Men fared worse in relation to HIV testing and care with social norms leading to men presenting later for treatment.

Conclusions: Gender inequity in SRH requires multiple complementary approaches to address the structural drivers of unequal health outcomes. These could include interventions that alter the structural environment in which ill-health is created. Interventions are required both within and beyond the health system.

Source: Global Health Action

Date of publication: 25/06/2014