Gender Equality in Health Care: Reenvisioning CEDAW General Recommendation 24

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Gender, Discrimination, CEDAW, Health Care, Gender Equality


This chapter seeks to address the critiques of CEDAW's gender equality paradigm under Article 12 and to rewrite GR 24 in a reenvisioning of gender equality in the health care field. We pursue this project first by engaging with the sex and gender essentialism of GR 24 to reenvision the very category of "women" under Article 12 and to thereby rewrite what it means to "eliminate discrimination against women" in health care "on a basis of equality of men and women." We then turn to the neglect of the political economy of health and its institutions in GR 24 in an effort to rewrite what is means to eliminate discrimination against women "in the field of health care" to ensure "access to health care services" under Article 12.

In this chapter, we propose a radical rewriting of GR 24, a rewriting we admit is impossible without reimagining the very nature and function of general recommendations in international human rights law. This is our intention. We, therefore, begin this chapter by reimagining the general recommendation itself and end the chapter with a proposed text for a future general recommendation on gender equality in health care under Article 12 of CEDAW (see the rewrite of General Recommendation 24 following this chapter).