There are vocal calls to act on the gender-related barriers and inequities in global health. Still, there are gaps in implementing programmes that address and counter the relevant dynamics. As an approach that focuses on social problems and public service delivery gaps, social entrepreneurship has the potential to be a closer health sector partner to tackle and transform the influence of gender in health to achieve health systems goals better. Nevertheless, social entrepreneurs' engagement and impact on gender and health remain understudied. Using the Ashoka Fellows database as a sampling frame in November 2020 (n = 3352, health n = 129), we identified and reviewed the work of 21 organizations that implemented gender-responsive health-related programmes between 2000 and 2020. We applied the UNU-IIGH 6-I Analytic Framework to review the gender issues, interventions, included populations, investments, implementation, and impact in each organization. We found that a low proportion of fellows engage in gender-responsive health programming (<1%). Many organizations operate in low-and middle-income countries (16/21). The gender-responsive programmes include established health sector practices, to address gendered-cultural dynamics and deliver people-centred resources and services. Interestingly, most organizations self-identify as NGOs and rely on traditional grant funding. Fewer organizations (6/21) adopt market-based and income-generating solutions - a missed opportunity to actualise the potential of social entrepreneurship as an innovative health financing approach. There were few publicly available impact evaluations-a gap in practice established in social entrepreneurship. All organizations implemented programmes at community levels, with some cross-sectoral, structural, and policy-level initiatives. Most focused on sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence for predominantly populations of women and girls. Closer partnerships between social entrepreneurs and gender experts in the health sector can provide reciprocally beneficial solutions for cross-sectorally and community designed innovations, health financing, evidence generation and impact tracking that improve the gender-responsiveness of health programmes, policies, and systems.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.