The COVID-19 pandemic has made global inequalities significantly worse, with women being disproportionately affected. It has also urgently demonstrated the need to rethink how we respond to global health threats, including the planetary emergency, notably climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution. To be genuinely transformative, preventing pandemics requires addressing three systemic problems directly related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). First, the under-representation of women in leadership and, second, the dominance of sectoral policy decisions, which do not allow for systems-based responses. A third challenge to address is those and current dominant economic systems that disregard externalities causing dangerous environmental degradation and increasing risks of pandemics. These problems undermine critical development and human health progress achieved in previous decades, with a disproportionate impact on women in low-income countries. Recognizing the urgency to develop actionable ways to translate research into practice, this chapter explores how gender equality accelerates the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The analysis concludes by showcasing pragmatic and holistic approaches to enhance gender equality while strengthening the health-environment nexus.
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de Paula, N., Baunach, S., Mar, K. A., Gepp, S., Jung, L., & Otieno, M. A. (2022). The Power of Gender Equality to Accelerate Planetary Health and Prevent Pandemics: Evidence and Practice. In W. Leal Filho (Ed.), Handbook of Human and Planetary Health (pp. 79-99). Cham: Springer International Publishing.
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