Gender Parity At All Levels Will Help Improve Global Health

Project Syndicate: How Gender Parity Improves Global Health
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the WHO, and Senait Fisseha, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Michigan, chief adviser to the director general of the WHO, and member of the Global Health 50/50 advisory council

“…Gender parity is a practical as well as a moral issue. … But gender is also a key social determinant of health … And yet, … Global Health 50/50 finds that over 70 percent of health organizations are currently headed by men, and that in 40 percent of the organizations reviewed, women occupy fewer than one-third of senior management positions. And few will be shocked to learn that the women working in these organizations earn 13.5 percent less, on average, than their male counterparts. Sadly, these findings are in keeping with what one finds in boardrooms across the corporate and non-profit sectors. But such disparities are all the more worrying when they show up in the global health sector, given its role in protecting the wellbeing and rights of all people everywhere. … [T]hree priorities should guide our approach to global health at all levels … First, we need to ensure that gender analysis informs all health strategies and program missions. … Second, we urgently need to close the power and pay gap between men and women in the health sector, by pursuing deliberate strategies to level the playing field for women. And, third, we must recommit to transparency and accountability in health organizations, including on gender equality. … When it comes to global health organizations, government ministries, and national health institutions, gender equality should be embraced not just for its own sake, but also because it works” (3/8).