The Centre recognises that infectious disease threats impact gender and sex differently due to physiological differences and the roles that males, females and people of diverse gender play in society. For example in Indo-Pacific countries, outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) have different impacts on men and women because men are more involved in large-scale commercial poultry farming. Commercial farms have better biosecurity, therefore resulting in a lower risk of HPAI outbreaks. Whereas, women are more involved in small scale poultry farming where biosecurity measures are not always in place. Female workers are more involved in the sale of poultry at live bird markets which also increases the risk of HPAI.
To ensure no one is left behind and as outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals, it is necessary to be gender responsive and gender inclusive in health aid programming. Gender-informed responses to health security threats lead to better understanding of transmission patterns, and more effective outbreak preparedness, prevention and control. The Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security is committed to addressing gender in health security in four key areas including policy dialogue, partnerships, research and people-to-people links. Examples of this include:
- Promoting sex and gender integrated approaches to prevention, preparedness and response activities
- Encouraging all research to disaggregate data by sex
- Encouraging equal training and opportunities for men and women.
We work together with our partners to ensure that all of the programs funded by The Centre have considered gender in their design and throughout the duration of the program. To learn more about the impacts of health security threats on gender, see the Health Security in the Indo-Pacific State of the Region 2019 report. Information about Australia’s development assistance for gender, equality and women’s empowerment strategy can be found here.