Giving Compass' Take:

• Neil Schoenherr discusses research that found that policies that target gender inequality are an effective way to boost health for women and families. 

• What support can you offer gender equality efforts? What progress is needed in your community? 

• Read a gender equality giving guide

Efforts to decrease gender inequality, such as tuition-free primary education and paid parental leave, transform norms and improve health for women and their children, according to a new study.

“These policies had both direct positive health effects as well as a positive impact on health mediated by more gender equality in decision making,” says coauthor Jessica Levy, associate professor of practice at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.

“We know that the health consequences of gender inequality fall most heavily on girls, women, and gender minorities,” Levy says, “but restrictive gender norms harm everyone’s health.

“Gender norms are the often unspoken ‘rules’ that govern what is valued and considered acceptable for being masculine/male and feminine/female. They’re deeply embedded in our community culture and institutions, and can intersect with other social factors to impact health over the life course,” she says. “Knowing how to decrease gender inequality and change restrictive gender norms are key to seeing long-term, equitable improvements in health.”

Read the full article about gender inequality and health by Neil Schoenherr at Futurity.