Gender: is defined as socially constructed characteristics of men and women, such as the norms, roles, and relationships that exist between them. It is also described as a socially constructed term referring to roles, behaviours, activities and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women. It encompasses physiology, and it is culturally bound but historically persistent.
Health Justice: is described by the Office of Minority Health, as a term used to describe health equity- an attainment of the highest level of health for all people. Achieving health equity requires valuing everyone equally with focused and ongoing societal efforts to address avoidable inequalities, historical and contemporary injustices, and the elimination of health and health care disparities.
When individuals do not conform to established gender norms, relations or roles, they often face stigma, discriminatory practices or social exclusion – all of which negatively impact health. Gender norms influence access and control over resources needed to attain optimal health, so within the health care systems, health professionals need to be sensitized in order to address all forms of violence and discrimination on the basis of gender within the private as well as public spheres. Health rights can be enjoyed by all and accessed at all times only if the rights of those who occupy low rungs in the gender hierarchy have secured rights in all spheres.
With this programme, CCL aims the following;
- To create a country that respects, protects and honors health justice for all.
- To be a bold and outspoken advocate for the development and implementation of laws and policies which affect the health rights of people.
- To work with people, especially women because they are more susceptible to discrimination based on gender, to lift up their voices so they can help shape the policies that impact their lives and communities.
- To provide health education that will act as a bridge to a healthier and more productive life.
- To eliminate health disparities.
- To empower the next generation to be advocates for health justice.
- To educate men and women to be responsible and active participants in civic life and to live generously in service to others.
People need to be aware that, if gender inequality prevails in our societies, there can be limit to access of quality health services and that contributes to avoidable morbidity and mortality rates in men and women throughout the life-course. So if we can start by addressing gender inequality, that will improve access to and benefits from health services. Additionally, it is essential to develop gender-responsive health programmes which are appropriately implemented and will be beneficial to men, women, boys and girls.
The main determinants of health and health justice are poverty, lack of education, unequal distribution of resources. Income, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation and place of residence are also the important determinants of health. So when they intersect with gender inequality, they can compound the experience of discrimination, health risks, and lack of access to resources needed for health attainment. The problem does not exist in socially constructed differences between men and women, except when these differences limit opportunities or resources needed to attain health, and thereby result in discrimination and inequalities that may have negative consequences on health.
As Dr Martin Luther King, Jr asserts, of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane. So as CCL with this programme, we strive to balance gender, that is, to do away with gender-based violence and discrimination so that achieving health justice would be easy.