Ensuring equal access to immunisation and other health services for all girls, boys, women and men lies at the core of Gavi’s mission. Immunisation is known as one of the most gender-equal health interventions, with no significant difference in global coverage between boys and girls.
However, within some countries and communities, coverage rates for boys and girls can vary. In addition, women can face obstacles that prevent them and their children from accessing immunisation and other healthcare services.
“Immunisation is one of the most equitable health interventions, with similar average coverage rates for boys and girls. However, low education and socioeconomic status and young age can undermine a mother’s ability to access vaccination for her child.”
Mid-Term Review report, page 6
Gender inequality and gender-related barriers are key driving factors behind health inequities, both in themselves and together with other factors. Globally, gender inequality is evident in a multitude of spheres, including caregiving, access to education, poverty, violence, child marriage and employment. Such gender barriers can perpetuate a vicious cycle of inequity. For example, a girl with a low level of education who is born into a poor family is less likely to learn about the benefits of immunisation and may not take her own children to be vaccinated.
Gavi works to comprehensively address gender-related barriers to immunisation at all levels of the health system. Improving gender equality is both an end in and of itself and a prerequisite for sustainable and inclusive development as outlined in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The achievement of SDG5, achieving gender equality, is essential to the attainment of SDG3, ensuring healthy lives and promoting wellbeing, to which immunisation is an important contributor.