The Political Prioritization of Child and Maternal Health: A Gender Analysis of National Health Policies in South Asia
Pierson, Shauna J.
- The gender gap is used in current political discourse to describe the differences between men and women as voters. It is important to note that the gap does not just exist on the constituent level, as gender differences may continue to influence leaders once they take power. Existing global research on women's involvement in politics shows a connection between increased female representation in ... read morelegislative bodies and more political attention geared toward social issues, such as education and healthcare. While this has been demonstrated in a variety of contexts of lower-levels governments, there is a serious lack of scholarship on the effects of having a woman in a position of national leadership. This study investigates changes or consistencies in a country's developmental health policies when a woman holds the position of prime minister for the first time. A case study approach, using India under Indira Gandhi, Pakistan under Benazir Bhutto, and Bangladesh under Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina, will track health policies implemented by a woman prime minister of a low-income country. Maternal and child health policies are used as indicators for this paper, on the basis of addressing issues both gendered and universal in scope. Ultimately, there is evidence to support more national attention toward maternal and child health under a woman prime minister, which has many crucial implications for future policies and analysis.read less