Engaging with feminist theory and feminist research is vital to diminish the structural barriers women face in the global health agenda, new comment in The Lancet co-authored by LSE's Dr Clare Wenham shows. Gender inequality persists in global health, as women take on unpaid and unrecognised roles as caregivers and health workers and are underrepresented in leadership positions.
The viewpoint in The Lancet suggests that implementing gender quotas is not enough to change women’s status long term. Permanent change comes not only from shifting formal processes, such as employment law, but requires informal practices to change as well.
Much of the inequality is inherent in the way our society and working life is organised. In order to truly change bias and inequality, which intersects with other drivers of inequality such as race, age, class and religion, the researchers call for more feminist methods of research such as ethnography, participant observation and story-telling to be used. A shift in methodology would help encourage collaborations with marginalised women and other minority groups and show a different aspect of global health.
Dr Clare Wenham, Assistant Professor of Global Health Policy at LSE, commented: “Global health can learn a lot from debates that have been occurring in feminist international relations for decades.”