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Exploring the role of gender and women in the political economy of health in armed conflict: a narrative review

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Kristen Meagher, Bothaina Attal, Preeti Patel

Original languageEnglish
Article number88
JournalGlobalization And Health
Issue number1
PublishedDec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: This publication is funded through the UK Research and Innovation GCRF Research for Health in Conflict (R4HC-MENA); developing capability, partnerships and research in the Middle and North Africa ES/P010962/1 and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) 131207, Research for Health Systems Strengthening in northern Syria (R4HSSS), using UK aid from the UK Government to support global health research. The views expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of GCRF, the NIHR or the UK government. Publisher Copyright: © 2021, The Author(s). Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

King's Authors


The ripple effects of protracted armed conflicts include: significant gender-specific barriers to accessing essential services such as health, education, water and sanitation and broader macroeconomic challenges such as increased poverty rates, higher debt burdens, and deteriorating employment prospects. These factors influence the wider social and political determinants of health for women and a gendered analysis of the political economy of health in conflict may support strengthening health systems during conflict. This will in turn lead to equality and equity across not only health, but broader sectors and systems, that contribute to sustainable peace building.

The methodology employed is a multidisciplinary narrative review of the published and grey literature on women and gender in the political economy of health in conflict.

The existing literature that contributes to the emerging area on the political economy of health in conflict has overlooked gender and specifically the role of women as a critical component. Gender analysis is incorporated into existing post-conflict health systems research, but this does not extend to countries actively affected by armed conflict and humanitarian crises. The analysis also tends to ignore the socially constructed patriarchal systems, power relations and gender norms that often lead to vastly different health system needs, experiences and health outcomes.

Detailed case studies on the gendered political economy of health in countries impacted by complex protracted conflict will support efforts to improve health equity and understanding of gender relations that support health systems strengthening.

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