Note: this story was originally published on Vital Strategies’ website.

Accurate, inclusive data, especially on gender, is fundamental to creating robust, effective health policies. By analyzing routine health data through a gender lens, public health advocates and policymakers can better understand and prioritize health needs. It also helps identify gender-related health issues which are typically camouflaged by aggregated data.

The next crucial step is gender mainstreaming—a strategic approach that integrates gender within all aspects of health policy planning, implementation and evaluation. It is a process that addresses the unique health needs and experiences of both men and women, while recognizing the biological, social, economic and cultural factors that also contribute to health disparities.

In an effort to foster greater regional collaboration and knowledge sharing, Vital Strategies hosted a panel event, “Advancing Equity: Improving Population Health through Gender Mainstreaming in Policy” in New Delhi on Oct. 20, 2023. Panelists included gender and public health experts from U.N. agencies, international nongovernmental organizations, academia, and government representatives from the Philippines and Sri Lanka.

Experts offered insights into the role of data in planning and creating equitable and inclusive health policies, as well as country-specific challenges and lessons learned. They also shared program and research perspectives, and ways to apply a gender lens throughout the health policy cycle, from planning, implementation and advocacy to resource allocation.


  • Ms. Kanta Singh, UN Women
  • Dr. Vindya Kumarapeli, Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka
  • Dr. Adriel Pizarra, Department of Health, Philippines
  • Dr. Michelle Kaufman, Gender Equity Unit, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • Ms. Chloe Harvey, UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP)
  • Dr. Ravi Verma, International Center for Research on Women