Gender norms and health: insights from global survey data


Weber, Ann M.; Cislaghi, Beniamino; Meausoone, Valerie; Abdalla, Safa; Mejía-Guevara, Iván; Loftus, Pooja; Hallgren, Emma; Seff, Ilana; Stark, Lindsay; & Victora, Cesar G., et al. (2019). Gender norms and health: insights from global survey data. The Lancet. vol. 393 (10189) pp. 2455-2468


Despite global commitments to achieving gender equality and improving health and wellbeing for all, quantitative data and methods to precisely estimate the effect of gender norms on health inequities are underdeveloped. Nonetheless, existing global, national, and subnational data provide some key opportunities for testing associations between gender norms and health. Using innovative approaches to analysing proxies for gender norms, we generated evidence that gender norms impact the health of women and men across life stages, health sectors, and world regions. Six case studies showed that: (1) gender norms are complex and can intersect with other social factors to impact health over the life course; (2) early gender-normative influences by parents and peers can have multiple and differing health consequences for girls and boys; (3) non-conformity with, and transgression of, gender norms can be harmful to health, particularly when they trigger negative sanctions; and (4) the impact of gender norms on health can be context-specific, demanding care when designing effective gender-transformative health policies and programmes. Limitations of survey-based data are described that resulted in missed opportunities for investigating certain populations and domains. Recommendations for optimising and advancing research on the health impacts of gender norms are made.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Journal Title

The Lancet


Weber, Ann M.
Cislaghi, Beniamino
Meausoone, Valerie
Abdalla, Safa
Mejía-Guevara, Iván
Loftus, Pooja
Hallgren, Emma
Seff, Ilana
Stark, Lindsay
Victora, Cesar G.
Buffarini, Romina
Barros, Aluísio J. D.
Domingue, Benjamin W.
Bhushan, Devika
Gupta, Ribhav
Nagata, Jason M.
Shakya, Holly B.
Richter, Linda M.
Norris, Shane A.
Ngo, Thoai D.
Chae, Sophia
Haberland, Nicole
McCarthy, Katharine
Cullen, Mark R.
Darmstadt, Gary L.
Darmstadt, Gary L.
Greene, Margaret Eleanor
Hawkes, Sarah
Heise, Lori
Henry, Sarah
Heymann, Jody
Klugman, Jeni
Levine, Ruth
Raj, Anita
Rao Gupta, Geeta

Year Published


Volume Number


Issue Number





May 30, 2019



Reference ID