Research Handbook on Feminist Engagement with International Law
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Research Handbook on Feminist Engagement with International Law

Edited by Susan Harris Rimmer and Kate Ogg

For almost 30 years, scholars and advocates have been exploring the interaction and potential between the rights and well-being of women and the promise of international law. This collection posits that the next frontier for international law is increasing its relevance, beneficence and impact for women in the developing world, and to deal with a much wider range of issues through a feminist lens.
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Chapter 19: Looking to the future: gender, health and international law

Belinda Bennett and Sara E. Davies


Despite renewed interest in global health governance in recent years, analysis of gender remains under-represented, with the risk that policy initiatives in global health will fail to adequately prioritise the needs of women and girls. This chapter analyses the potential role for international law in supporting recognition of gender in women’s health-related rights. The chapter begins with an overview of the gendered dimensions of health morbidities, the achievements in global health in terms of the Millennium Development Goals, and the targets set by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In Section II we examine the intersections between gender and human rights, and the focus of debates over women’s human rights on sexual and reproductive health. Section III analyses the disproportionate impact on women of the 2014 Ebola public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) in West Africa and the 2016 Zika virus PHEIC in the Americas. The relevance of gender for the SDGs is analysed in Section IV, with a particular focus on the importance of gender-related considerations to achieving universal health coverage. We conclude by arguing for the need to move beyond traditional silos of gender, global health and human rights and in favour of the setting of gender-equitable health care as a global priority.

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