WHO says ‘sex is not limited to male or female’ in updated gender mainstreaming manual

The World Health Organization has announced that it will be updating it’s gender mainstreaming manual.

The WHO’s “Gender mainstreaming for health managers: a practical approach” manual, which is widely-used in the health sector worldwide, details concepts such as non-binary identities, gender and sexual diversity, equity, and human rights framework. The manual’s first edition was originally published in 2011.

In their announcement of the updated version of the manual, which has not yet been released, the organization will be focusing primarily on “updating key concepts around gender,” as well as:

  • “Highlighting and expanding on the concept of intersectionality, which looks at how gender power dynamics interact with other hierarchies of privilege or disadvantage, resulting in inequality and differential health outcomes for different people. Intersecting factors include sex, ethnicity, race, age, class, socioeconomic status, religion, language, geographical location, disability status, migration status, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation and political situation.”
  • “Going beyond binary approaches to gender and health to recognize gender and sexual diversity, or the concepts that gender identity exists on a continuum and that sex is not limited to male or female.”
  • “Introducing new gender, equity and human rights frameworks and tools to further support capacity building around these concepts and the integration of their approaches in the work of WHO.”

WHO officials have not yet said when the revised manual will be released. The WHO is conducting the review ans update of the 146-page manual in partnership with the United Nations University International Institute for Global Health.

“During the summer and fall of 2022, people will have the opportunity to provide inputs and feedback from reviews of the updates and participate in a validation workshop and/or the pilots,” the WHO said, according to the New York Post.



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