Rosemary Morgan on gender in health systems research

Rosemary Morgan is a Research Fellow at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. In this HEART talks video, she talks about the project she works on, ‘Research in Gender and Ethics (RinGs): Building Stronger Health Systems’, and about the importance of making gender integral in health systems research.

RinGs came about as a project to address knowledge gaps in the inclusion of gender and gender analysis in health systems research. There is very little health systems research that disaggregates data by sex, and where there is such research, they lack further analysis. For instance, while differences between men and women will be reported, these differences are not explained. Further, health systems research and projects also tend to focus mainly on women. However, it is important to consider gender power relations and how they shape inequalities, and aspects and dynamics of health systems.

Health systems terminology is often used in gender neutral ways, however, health systems are not gender neutral. Analysis of gender related needs, roles and power relations that shape experiences is often the missing component in health systems research. This also extends to other aspects of health systems research, such as health financing.

Therefore, calls for health systems research need to include gender analysis as a required component, while providing support to build the capacity of researchers to incorporate such analysis is also essential. Making gender integral in health systems research will help design policies and programmes that address health and gender inequalities and inequities.

For more on gender and post-conflict health systems see other HEART talks in this series:

  • Sarah Ssali on understanding gender issues in health systems strengthening in post-conflict Uganda
  • Valerie Percival on the importance of understanding gender equity in humanitarian responses to health issues
  • Haja Wurie on incorporating gender into health systems reconstruction in post-Ebola Sierra Leone
  • Group interview with Sarah Ssali, Sally Theobald, Rosemary Morgan and Asha George on essential gender issues in relation to health systems.

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