Emphasising Gender-Transformative Approaches in Women's Health

The importance of gender-transformative approaches to women's sexual health and reproductive rights cannot be overstated. PSI is publishing today three insightful reports focusing on this very topic, with case studies from India, Paraguay, and Nigeria.

In India, the report by Adsa Fatima, Misbah Haqani, and Sarojini Nadimpally sheds light on the pressing need to address gender inequalities and discrimination. The authors underline the significance of understanding the power dynamics that shape health policies and interventions.

Despite the global recognition of gender-based violence as a public health issue, it remains largely neglected.

They argue for a shift in focus towards gender equity in health, providing everyone with a fair opportunity to reach their full health potential.

Despite the global recognition of gender-based violence as a public health issue, it remains largely neglected.

The authors call for a strengthening of the policy framework on gender-based violence, improvements in public infrastructure and health financing, and a revision of the medical education curriculum to address gender and gender-based violence.

Download the studies

The case study from Paraguay, by Mariluz Martin, emphasises the importance of multisectoral and intersectoral collaboration in formulating gender-transformative sexual and reproductive health policies. The report advocates for comprehensive sexuality education and inclusive labor and social protection policies. Additionally, it proposes public campaigns aimed at normalizing sexuality and challenging gender inequality, disrupting the patriarchal status quo and promoting gender equality.

In Nigeria, a report by Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi from the University of Lagos illustrates the deep-seated impact of gender norms on sexual and reproductive health. Given the country's high maternal mortality rate and limited access to modern contraceptives, the report calls for urgent initiatives that promote women's health and gender equality. The study underlines the importance of community engagement and education programs, which raise awareness about sexual and reproductive health rights. Furthermore, it advocates for a revision of existing legal frameworks, particularly those related to unsafe abortions, and promotes gender-transformative healthcare approaches.

These reports collectively emphasise the imperative of adopting a gender-transformative approach in the domain of women's sexual health and reproductive rights. They underscore the role of policy changes, education programs, and community engagement in achieving this goal. As we move forward, these insights will be crucial in guiding our efforts to ensure health equity and gender equality.

PSI's recently-held 31st World Congress, adopted a resolution focusing on reproductive rights and healthcare. The resolution affirms PSI's commitment to reproductive choice and access to all reproductive health services. Underlining the importance of bodily autonomy, the right to life, liberty, and security, as well as the personal nature of procreation and child rearing, the resolution also highlights the societal benefits associated with reproductive freedom. PSI resolves to defend reproductive rights, work with member unions to secure reproductive freedom, and oppose the criminalisation of reproductive healthcare.

The 31st World Congress of Public Services International (PSI) Meeting in Geneva on 14 - 18 October 2023

WHEREAS PSI is committed to ensuring that women, girls, and others who can become pregnant maintain their reproductive choice and have access to all reproductive health services; and

WHEREAS bodily autonomy is essential to liberty, dignity, equality, and self-determination; and

WHEREAS the right to life, liberty, and security of person is guaranteed under the UN Declaration of Human Rights; and

WHEREAS pregnancy-related mortality around the world affects approximately 800 women per day at various stages of gestation, with one-third of pregnancy-related deaths occurring during pregnancy, one-third occurring at delivery or one week after, and one-third occurring one week to one year postpartum; and

WHEREAS procreation and child rearing are personal and intimate matters fundamental to our freedom and our aspirations, are lifelong responsibilities, and should not be imposed by the state, or any employer against the express consent of the individual, or forced on people who have been traumatised or who are otherwise unwilling or unable to assume this responsibility; and

WHEREAS having the right to decide when and whether to reproduce is associated with better relationship stability and satisfaction, more work experience, and greater earning potential among women, which contributes to a well-functioning society, and where freedom has been recognised in law as the ability of a person to have agency over one of the most fundamental and intimate decisions one can make; when and whether and with whom to have a child:


RESOLVES that PSI will defend the rights of our members and all women, girls, and others who can become pregnant against forced birth, and PSI calls on global governments to codify the right to choose abortion; and

RESOLVES that PSI will work with our member unions to secure reproductive freedom throughout the world by working with lawmakers, candidates, advocacy groups and activists to support legislative efforts and executive action at the national level; and

RESOLVES that PSI will use its voice to fight the criminalisation of reproductive healthcare, including patients seeking care, abortion providers, counsellors, advocates, family members, and friends who provide advice or transportation.

Submitted by: American Federation of Teachers, USA

Also see