The Commission on Women and Health was formed in 2012. A partnership between The Lancet, the Women and Health Initiative at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, the Commission aimed to review and generate evidence and develop a strategic framework for the women and health agenda. Women and health is a novel concept that refers to the multifaceted ways in which women and health interact, moving beyond a narrow focus on women’s health to address the roles of women as both users and providers of health care. Innovative approaches are needed to improve the health of women and girls and ensure that they are supported and valued in their multiple roles in society. Girls and women who reach their full potential make significant contributions to their own, their families’ and their communities’ health and wellbeing and are the key to sustainable development.

Goals of the Commission

The Commission on Women and Health aims to foster greater understanding of the biological and social factors that affect women’s health across the lifecycle, the part they play in global health systems, and the value that is given to their health-related work. The groundbreaking report resulting from the work of the Commission explores several major themes, including:

  • Recent global shifts in economics, society, and demography and how they affect women’s health and the empowerment of women and girls;
  • Efforts of national health systems to address women’s health needs across the lifecycle, from noncommunicable diseases to reproductive health;
  • The influence of sex and gender on access to quality health care, and the role of the health workforce support in alleviating such disparities;
    Women’s paid and unpaid contributions to the health care sector; and
  • The impact that is possible when the world is accountable to women and girls and ensures that they are valued, counted and compensated.

The Commission calls on academic institutions, development partners, governments, civil society and others to foster take action around the women and health agenda and position it as a health and development priority.

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