Accounting for gender for when it is not counted

Highlighting the importance of sex-disaggregated data in understanding the impacts of attacks on healthcare

 Róisín Read, University of Manchester

Brief Summary

This brief makes a plea for organisations to collect and report sex-disaggregated data about attacks on healthcare in conflict. Initiatives exist to record these violations, and these data contribute to our understanding of attacks. Data also help to assess the broader impacts of attacks on healthcare workers, systems and patients’ access to healthcare. However, a persistent data gap about the sex of those involved in and affected by attacks means that we still cannot account for the gendered dimensions of attacks on healthcare.

The collection of more sex-disaggregated data about conflict has highlighted that women and men face distinct risks and harms in conflict. This has enabled the analysis of gendered violence: the forms of violence that men, women, transgender or non-binary people are more likely to face because of their gender identity, or understanding how vulnerability to conflict violence may be rooted in gendered societal marginalisation. If other forms of targeted violence are driven by gender dynamics, we need to consider this may influence the nature, instances and impacts of attacks on healthcare.

This brief highlights the importance of sex-disaggregated data to developing policies to protect and mitigate against the effects of attacks on healthcare in ways that take gender seriously.

This policy brief:

  • Advocates for the systematic collection and reporting of sex-disaggregated data about attacks on healthcare in conflict as an important step in identifying the gendered dimensions of attacks on healthcare in conflict.
  • Highlights the gap in our knowledge about the ways gender influences attacks on healthcare.
  • Recommends organisations record and report attacks on healthcare with sex-disaggregated data to develop appropriately gender-sensitive protection and mitigation strategies.
  • Recommends collecting basic data on which healthcare roles are more likely to be carried out by men, women, or people of diverse gender identity.