Gender-transformative health promotion for women: a framework for action

Health Promot Int. 2015 Mar;30(1):140-50. doi: 10.1093/heapro/dau083. Epub 2014 Sep 17.


Gender inequity is a pervasive global challenge to health equity. Health promotion, as a field, has paid only limited attention to gender inequity to date, but could be an active agent of change if gender equity became an explicit goal of health promotion research, policy and programmes. As an aspect of gendered health systems, health promotion interventions may maintain, exacerbate or reduce gender-related health inequities, depending upon the degree and quality of gender-responsiveness within the programme or policy. This article introduces a framework for gender-transformative health promotion that builds on understanding gender as a determinant of health and outlines a continuum of actions to address gender and health. Gender-transformative health promotion interventions could play a significant role in improving the lives of millions of girls and women worldwide. Gender-related principles of action are identified that extend the core principles of health promotion but reflect the significance of attending to gender in the development and use of evidence, engagement of stakeholders and selection of interventions. We illustrate the framework with examples from a range of women's health promotion activities, including cardiovascular disease prevention, tobacco control, and alcohol use. The literature suggests that gender-responsiveness will enhance the acceptance, relevance and effectiveness of health promotion interventions. By moving beyond responsiveness to transformation, gender-transformative health promotion could enhance both health and social outcomes for large numbers of women and men, girls and boys.

Keywords: determinants of health; framework; women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Cardiovascular Diseases
  • Female
  • Health Policy*
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Research
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking
  • Women's Health*
  • Women's Rights