VoICE Immunization Evidence: Gender Inequity

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Gender Inequity

Gender inequality refers to unequal treatment of, or outcomes in, individuals of different genders. Immunization against vaccine preventable diseases can impact gender inequity partially through its impact on Educational Inequity.
7 Key Ideas, 10 Sources
Key Idea

A review of measles vaccination data found that female children experience substantially higher mortality risks from measles relative to male children, and greater reductions in mortality with vaccination. In essence, vaccinating female children against measles provides them with the same survival chances as unvaccinated male children.

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Across multiple studies reviewed, the effect of measles vaccine appears to be more beneficial to girls than to boys.

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Key Idea

Introduction of HPV vaccine in Rwanda occurred through a new school-based delivery program which provided the opportunity to offer additional health services to all school-children (girls and boys) including health promotion sessions, de-worming and opportunities for voluntary, free circumcision.

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Key Idea

An impact evaluation for a women’s empowerment program in India found that the children of mothers who participated the empowerment program were significantly more likely to be vaccinated against DTP, measles, and tuberculosis than children of mothers not involved in the program. This study also found that the women’s empowerment program had positive spillover effects: In villages where the program occurred, children of mothers not in the program (non-participants) were 9 to 32% more likely to be immunized against measles than in villages where the program did not occur (controls). Overall, measles vaccine coverage was nearly 25% higher in the program villages compared to the control villages.

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In a recent systematic review of the past 4 decades of studies, researchers found a significant amount of evidence linking women’s agency (power over decision-making and freedom of movement) to odds of complete immunizations for their children.

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Key Idea

A study looking at DHS data from 67 countries found that, globally, girls and boys had the same likelihood of being vaccinated. In some countries where there is known gender inequity and son preference, girls were more likely to not be vaccinated.

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Inequity in vaccination coverage in India was found between states, within states, and in urban vs. rural. Lower parental education resulted in lower coverage, girls had lower coverage than boys and infants born to families with a large number of children also had lower coverage than others. A direct relationship between household wealth and coverage was also found.

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Key Idea

Inequity in vaccination coverage in India was found between states, within states, and in urban vs. rural. Lower parental education resulted in lower coverage, girls had lower coverage than boys and infants born to families with a large number of children also had lower coverage than others. A direct relationship between household wealth and coverage was also found.

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Key Idea

To better understand the drivers of vaccination coverage and equity, a 2017 study examined the country-level factors influencing vaccination coverage in 45 low- and lower-middle income Gavi-supported nations. Countries with the least gender equality – as measured by reproductive health, women-held parliamentary seats, educational attainment and other factors – also had lower rates of vaccine coverage.

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Key Idea

In an analysis of immunization coverage in 45 low- and lower-middle income Gavi-eligible countries, researchers found that overall, maternal and paternal education were two of the most significant drivers of coverage inequities in these countries. Pooling the data from all countries, the authors found that “children of the most educated mothers are 1.45 times more likle to have received DTP3 than children of the least educated mothers.” The same held true for measles vaccines with a 1.45-fold likelihood of vaccination in children of the most educated mothers.

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A woman carrying vaccines

Search for immunization evidence

The VoICE tool allows you to search for research studies and published evidence based on a topic, location, and disease or vaccine.

Search VoICE