Fifty years ago the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirmed “everyone has a right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and services.” It has taken these many years to bring precedence to the recognition of human rights as women’s rights.
For effective operation of gender-sensitive health services, nurses and all health personnel need to be educated of the full significance of gender issues in health care. Education programmes should focus on gender, human rights and the involvement of women at every phase of the health delivery process. Mainstreaming the gender perspective in all policy, programme planning, implementation, reporting and evaluation will accelerate the competence of the health care professionals to provide appropriate and equitable services to the individual, family and community. The differences between men and women’s needs and the power structures that impact on health should be identified and addressed by health care professionals in order to rectify the imbalance.