The Women and Health Initiative (W&HI) at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health recognizes that, due to persistent social and gender inequality around the world, girls and women experience increased risk of ill-health and injustice within the health sector, where they play dual roles as both consumers and providers of health care. The W&HI holistically conceptualizes women as both the beneficiaries of health care interventions and as critical caregivers within the health system. The Initiative is unprecedented in its balanced focus on improving women’s health and catalyzing women’s contributions to the health and wealth of societies.
A central tenet of the W&HI is that female-driven solutions rooted in gender equality and women’s empowerment will strengthen health systems to better address women’s needs. The W&HI aims to support women’s efforts to fulfill their potential as providers, decision-makers and leaders in health systems and, consequently, committing and preparing them to advance the women’s health agenda.
The Women and Health Initiative was founded at Harvard Chan in 2010 by Dean Julio Frenk. As one of the Dean’s flagship initiatives, the W&HI draws on resources and expertise from across the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and the broader Harvard community to develop interdisciplinary perspectives and innovative solutions to the challenges women face in the public health arena. The Initiative also brings together global partners including governments, foundations, private industry, multi-lateral agencies, non-governmental organizations, and committed individuals.