Equity and Social Determinants

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls

Gender-based violence against women and girls is a pervasive human rights violation and public health concern. Globally one in three women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence, mostly by an intimate partner. Such violence results in physical, mental, sexual, reproductive and other health problems. Gender-based violence is not inevitable and can be tackled. From 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) through 10 December (Human Rights Day), the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence aim to raise public awareness and mobilizing people everywhere to bring about change. After all, as #HumanTogether, we have the responsibility to be champions for eliminating gender-based violence and achieving gender equality. During the 16 days, the WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific is launching a new campaign titles "Human Together". Gender-based violence against women and girls isn't an issue for survivors only, but for us all as human beings together. Tackling gender-based violence requires everyone to work together – government sectors, civil society, men, women, families and communities. Together, we can create change.

Click here for the Human Together Posters

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Gender equality makes everyone healthier: WHO

MANILA, 6 March 2017 - On International Women's Day (8 March), the World Health Organization (WHO) will focus on the powerful link between gender equality and health and well-being.

Public health efforts for women used to focus mainly on pregnancy and childbirth. Now gender, equity and human rights concerns are woven into every aspect of WHO's work in the Western Pacific Region.

"International Women’s Day is a great opportunity to challenge the unequal systems and practices that perpetuate health inequalities," said Dr Shin Young-soo, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific.

Gender equality is a priority for WHO because it affects health in many ways across the Region, which is home to nearly 1.9 billion people, or more than a quarter of the world’s population.

Gender-based violence: The health sector responds

An estimated one in every three women in the Western Pacific Region is likely to experience violence in her lifetime. Gender-based violence is a human rights violation that is rooted in gender inequality and has enormous health consequences. Intimate partner violence, trafficking, sexual harassment, coerced sex, female genital mutilation, dowry murder, honour killings and infanticide are widespread forms of gender-based violence. WHO joined other partners in marking the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence by drawing attention to the critical role for the health sector in responding to gender-based violence.

Human rights day 2015: Stand up for the right to health

The WHO Constitution was the first international instrument to enshrine the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health as a fundamental right of every human being ("the right to health"). As a United Nations specialized agency, WHO plays a vital role in advancing human rights worldwide and ensuring that the right to health progressively becomes a reality in each countries. This year, our celebration of Human Rights Day highlights the importance of universal health coverage (UHC) for realizing the right to health. At the sixty-sixth session of the Regional Committee for the Western Pacific in October 2015, Member States endorsed Universal Health Coverage: Moving Towards Better Health – an action framework that provides guidance for Member States to advance towards UHC. It recognizes the importance of the right to health through actions such as improving service access and financial protection, fostering respectful care, as well as non-discrimination, participatory planning and strengthened accountability and transparency.

Sustainable Development Goals: Catalysing action for health and development

Building on lessons learned from the Millennium Development Goals, UN Member States adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as the new post-2015 global development agenda in September 2015. The SDGs are likely to be milestones in global, regional and national development efforts, with health at the centre. Aside from SDG3 to "Ensuring healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages", the SDGs also includes a broader range of determinants of health, pointing to an important role for ministries of health, in working across sectors and stakeholders through whole-of-government —and whole-of-society —approaches to achieve health for all. Universal Health Coverage can be seen as an umbrella agenda, bringing together various health and development efforts.

fact buffet


1 in 3women globally have experienced violence by an intimate partner

More on gender


400 millionpeople globally lack access to essential health services

More on equity

Human rights

1948was when WHO's constitution laids out the right to health

More on human rights