Sarah Hawkes: shining a gender lens on global health

Lane, R.

“A deafening silence” is how Sarah Hawkes, Director of the Centre for Gender and Global Health at University College London (UCL), UK, recalls the reaction to a 2013 Lancet Viewpoint on gender and global health that she wrote with her husband Kent Buse. Its inclusive gender-based approach “was deemed politically unacceptable at the time, as most gender-based discussions in global health had hitherto focused on maternal health, in the context of sexual health and HIV”, she says. The agenda has now changed and a new Lancet Series examines gender equality, norms, and health. “I am thrilled The Lancet…is devoting a Series to highlighting the role that gender plays in influencing everyone’s health outcomes”, says Hawkes, who is a Series author. “As we work to ensure that the findings and recommendations of the Series are acted upon, I would hope to see an inclusive global response that brings a wider variety of voices, and genders, on board to ensure that gender is both understood and acted upon for health equity.”