Global Health Trends

Kirsten Gagnaire, managing director of FSG’s global health practice, looks at what it means to bring gender equity into every global health conversation.

Young women in Gondar, Ethiopia

Young women in Gondar, Ethiopia.

Recently, I’ve seen a shift towards asking, “What does it mean to have a gender lens in all aspects of global health?” We need to move beyond just thinking of women and girls, and start thinking about all the ways that gender impacts global health issues.

Of course, men need to be included in issues we’ve traditionally thought of as women and girls issues, but we also should do more to understand the differences between women and men – both in the biological sense, to better understanding medicines, diseases, and treatment options and how they affect men and women differently, but also in terms of education and awareness. How do women need to be communicated with differently? What are the socioeconomic and cultural factors that influence health differently for men and women? Where is there inequity and how can we address it?

The World Health Organization has a helpful framework around gender equity and human rights, and many organizations are doing great work in this space right now. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, for example, is incorporating a gender equality perspective in a number of areas. Earlier this year, we released a report supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, An Opportunity to Address Menstrual Health and Gender Equity, which examines the existing research linking menstrual health to broader outcomes around health, social norms, and education, and explores opportunities to better support women and girls.

We’re also partnering with YLabs and VOTO Mobile on a project called, “Men Stand Up,” a Grand Challenges Exploration grant recipient which aims to increase men’s involvement in family planning through a greater understanding of men’s behaviors, needs, and preferences. Our hope is that through bringing young men into the conversation, we can design solutions that increase the uptake of family planning by men and women, creating better outcomes for all.

Read the rest of Kirsten Gagnaire’s global health trends on FSG’s blog:

Kirsten Gagnaire

Kirsten Gagnaire leads the Global Health and Digital Development work at FSG. She is a social entrepreneurship and innovation pioneer with over 20 years of proven experience in global health concept-to-execution program leadership, specifically in cross-sector partnership global health, digital development, and gender issues. Email her at