In most parts of the world, health outcomes among boys and men continue to be substantially worse than among girls and women, yet this gender-based disparity in health has received little national, regional or global acknowledgement or attention from health policy-makers or health-care providers. Including both women and men in efforts to reduce gender inequalities in health as part of the post-2015 sustainable development agenda would improve everyone’s health and well-being.
The excess burden of morbidity and mortality in men is highlighted. Concerted global action to reduce this burden could have a transformative social, health and economic impact. It is time to not only acknowledge the benefits of such action to men, but also to recognize and measure its potential benefits to women, children and society as a whole. Men’s physical illness, for example, can impair the psychological health of their female partners; when men are sick, injured or die, households and female partners suffer a loss of income. Closing the men’s health gap can benefit men, women and their children.