Gender equalities work in health organisations in England

Sarah Payne, Laura Bennett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
308 Downloads (Pure)


– An increasing number of countries have introduced duties for public-sector organisations who, in addition to addressing discrimination, are now also required to promote equality of opportunity between different groups. The purpose of this paper is to explore the limited progress of gender equality policies, through a study of the local implementation of equalities policies. The authors highlight the role of equalities leads in the public sector as local “agents of change”, and explore explanations of the implementation gap between policy and practice.

– The paper reports on a small-scale qualitative study with equalities leads in the health sector in England. The study comprised semi-structured interviews with equalities leads from nine health organisations which were purposively selected to include a mix of areas and populations. The interviews focused on the leads’ backgrounds and their perceptions of barriers to their work.

– The equalities leads had a range of experience prior to their current post, though most had little formal subject-specific training. They highlighted a number of barriers to effective implementation of gender equality strategies, including resource issues, the impact of organisational change, the increased the number of equalities they were expected to address, organisational perceptions that gender was no longer a priority and resistance to what are seen as “tick box” exercises.

– The value of this paper is that it adds to the understanding of the challenges facing the implementation of gender equalities policies in the health sector, the reasons for these and the role of local policy implementers in the effectiveness of national equalities policies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)579-592
Number of pages14
JournalEquality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sep 2015


  • Public-sector organizations
  • Gender health equalities
  • Gender mainstreaming
  • Gendered health policy
  • Men’s health
  • Women’s health


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