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Towards a better tomorrow: addressing intersectional gender power relations to eradicate inequities in maternal health.

Bohren MA, Iyer A, Barros AJD, Williams CR, Hazfiarini A, Arroyave L, Filippi V, Chamberlain C, Kabakian-Khasholian T, Mayra K, Gill R, Vogel JP, Chou D, George AS, Oladapo OT.

  • Published 06 Dec 2023

  • Volume 67

  • Pagination 102180

  • DOI doi: 10.1016/j.eclinm.2023.102180.


An equity lens to maternal health has typically focused on assessing the differences in coverage and use of healthcare services and critical interventions. While this approach is important, we argue that healthcare experiences, dignity, rights, justice, and well-being are fundamental components of high quality and person-centred maternal healthcare that must also be considered. Looking at differences across one dimension alone does not reflect how fundamental drivers of maternal health inequities-including racism, ethnic or caste-based discrimination, and gendered power relations-operate. In this paper, we describe how using an intersectionality approach to maternal health can illuminate how power and privilege (and conversely oppression and exclusion) intersect and drive inequities. We present an intersectionality-informed analysis on antenatal care quality to illustrate the advantages of this approach, and what is lost in its absence. We reviewed and mapped equity-informed interventions in maternal health to existing literature to identify opportunities for improvement and areas for innovation. The gaps and opportunities identified were then synthesised to propose recommendations on how to apply an intersectionality lens to maternal health research, programmes, and policies.