Gender refers to socially constructed roles, behaviours, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women. Sex refers to the biological and physiological characteristics that define men and women, boys and girls. The role of gender and sex disparities in immunization coverage has been subject to much debate in recent years with terminology often used interchangeably (WHO 2010b). Differences based on sex and gender are important for understanding and improving outcomes and uptake rates for vaccination. A gender--‐specific focus can be described as “research [that] comes from an approach that is considerate of the multifaceted nature of gender” (Beetham and Demetriades 2007, p. 199). Gender in health care research is, while almost always present as a variable, not necessarily clearly recognised or accurately analysed (1)

As race, class, age, ethnic group, etc. the notion of gender needs to be understood

clearly as a cross-cutting socio-cultural variable. Gender refers to social attributes that

are learned or acquired during socialisation as a member of a given community.

Gender is therefore an acquired identity. Because these attributes are learned

behaviours, they are context/ time-specific and changeable (with increasing rapidity as

the rate of technological change intensifies), and vary across cultures. Gender

therefore refers to the socially given attributes, roles, activities, responsibilities and

needs connected to being men (masculine) and women (feminine) in a given society at

a given time, and as a member of a specific community within that society. Women and

men’s gender identity determines how they are perceived and how they are expected

to think and act as men and women. Gender determines what is expected, allowed and

valued in a woman or a man in a given context. In most societies there are differences

and inequalities between women and men in responsibilities assigned, activities

undertaken, access to and control over resources, as well as decision-making

opportunities. Other important criteria for socio-cultural analysis include class, race,

poverty level, ethnic group and age. (2,3)

In striving to achieve the highest standard of health for all, our society’s health policies

must recognise that women and men - due to their biological differences, their access

to resources - have different needs and are faced with dfferent obstacles and

opportunities.Socially constructed inequalities or gender differences between males

and females also play a central role in determining if individuals can realise their

potential for long, healthy lives. By acknowledging the interaction between sex and

gender, possibilities open up for improved health care.


(1) ASSET Report on Gender Issues in Pandemics and Epidemics

(2) Gender Mainstreaming Learning & Information Pack, UNDP

(3) Concepts and Definitions prepared by the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender

Issues and Advancement of Women (OSAGI)


MMLAP and other EU Projects

Health system analysis to support capacity development in response to the threat of pandemic influenza in Asia
Making society an active participant in water adaptation to global change
Public Participation in Developing a Common Framework for Assessment and Management of Sustainable Innovation
Engaging all of Europe in shaping a desirable and sustainable future
Expect the unexpected and know how to respond
Driving innovation in crisis management for European resilience
Effective communication in outbreak management: development of an evidence-based tool for Europe
Solutions to improve CBRNe resilience
Network for Communicable Disease Control in Southern Europe and Mediterranean Countries
Developing the framework for an epidemic forecast infrastructure
Strengthening of the national surveillance system for communicable diseases
Surveillance of vaccine preventable hepatitis
European monitoring of excess mortality for public health action
European network for highly infectious disease
Dedicated surveillance network for surveillance and control of vaccine preventable diseases in the EU
Modelling the spread of pandemic influenza and strategies for its containment and mitigation
Cost-effectiveness assessment of european influenza human pandemic alert and response strategies
Bridging the gap between science, stakeholders and policy makers
Promotion of immunization for health professionals in Europe
Towards inclusive research programming for sustainable food innovations
Addressing chronic diseases and healthy ageing across the life cycle
Medical ecosystem – personalized event-based surveillance
Studying the many and varied economic, social, legal and ethical aspects of the recent developments on the Internet, and their consequences for the individual and society at large
Get involved in the responsible marine research and innovation
Knowledge-based policy-making on issues involving science, technology and innovation, mainly based upon the practices in Parliamentary Technology Assessment
Assessment of the current pandemic preparedness and response tools, systems and practice at national, EU and global level in priority areas
Analysis of innovative public engagement tools and instruments for dynamic governance in the field of Science in Society
Public Engagement with Research And Research Engagement with Society
Computing Veracity – the Fourth Challenge of Big Data
Providing infrastructure, co-ordination and integration of existing clinical research networks on epidemics and pandemics
Promote vaccinations among migrant population in Europe
Creating mechanisms for effectively tackling the scientific and technology related challenges faced by society
Improve the quality of indoor air, keeping it free from radon
Improving respect of ethics principles and laws in research and innovation, in line with the evolution of technologies and societal concerns
Investigating how cities in the West securitise against global pandemics
Creating a structured dialogue and mutual learning with citizens and urban actors by setting up National Networks in 10 countries across Europe
Identifying how children can be change agents in the Science and Society relationship
Establishing an open dialogue between stakeholders concerning synthetic biology’s potential benefits and risks
Transparent communication in Epidemics: Learning Lessons from experience, delivering effective Messages, providing Evidence