Prairie Women's Health Centre of Excellence

  Better Evidence to Improve Women’s Health with Gender and Health Statistics: Health Indicator Frameworks


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The research and publication of this study were funded by the Prairie Women's Health Centre of Excellence (PWHCE). The PWHCE is financially supported by the Women's Health Contribution Program, Bureau of Women's Health and Gender Analysis, Health Canada. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of the PWHCE or the official policy of Health Canada.

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M. Haworth-Brockman, H. Isfeld


Health indicator frameworks provide a purposeful and systematic means to conceptualize health-influencing factors and their relationships to health status (or outcomes). Frameworks are shaped by current health policy priorities and availability of useable data, but also should reflect factors that have meaning in people’s lives, and point to action that can be taken to improve health (Jackson and Willson 2005). This paper describes frameworks and processes to bring sensitivity to both sex (biology and physiology) and gender (personal and societal roles, responsibilities, access to resources and power) to indicators of health and health determinants. It discusses how health indicator frameworks can be used to organize, record and monitor health information, incorporate gender equity considerations and thus provide evidence of health inequities between and among women and men, and indicate where interventions can improve health. There is an emphasis in this paper on women’s health because women’s health is disproportionately poor, and there is disproportionately poor evidence about women’s health and health determinants.

The paper was originally commissioned to contribute to the consultation, A Policy Dialogue for Better Evidence to Improve Women’s Health through Gender and Health Statistics, hosted by the World Health Organization and the Pan-American Health Organization in Washington DC in October, 2010.

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