Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, activities and attributes that a particular society considers appropriate for men and women, explains the World Health Organization. The distinct roles, reinforced by legal systems and religion, have historically given rise to gender inequalities not only in health care but with education and employment opportunities. Globalization has challenged the most archaic perceptions of gender roles through books, films and other media; new technologies in satellite television and the internet; policies of multinational corporations and tourism. Human rights groups reach across borders to lend support and inspiration to those in other lands; the United Nations and other international target gender equality as a major goal.

Southeastern European Nations Unite to Battle Sex Trafficking

Regional organization succeeds through fostering trans-border cooperation
David Binder
August 15, 2004

Africa: Gender Inequality Fuels AIDS Crisis

The links between sexual violence and AIDS are too often ignored in Africa, says Human Rights Watch
December 3, 2003

Egyptians decry 'gay' U.S. abusers in Iraq

But rights advocates warn against equating homosexuality with torture
Patrick Letellier
May 17, 2004

U.S. Is Accused of Trying to Isolate U.N. Agency

UN Population Fund under attack by Bush Administration
Christopher Marquis
June 21, 2004

Indonesia's Shameful Export

Poverty, ignorance and, unenforced laws fuel an industry that has sold 70,000 children into prostitution overseas
Devi Asmarani
June 8, 2004