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Global Health Organizations Must Address Internal Gender Disparities

Project Syndicate: Bringing Gender Equality to Global Public Health
Helen Clark, former prime minister of New Zealand and former administrator of the U.N. Development Programme, and Sania Nishtar, co-chair of the WHO’s Independent High-Level Commission on Noncommunicable Diseases and founder and president of Heartfile

“…For decades, the global health community has paid lip service to the critical role of unequal power relations, particularly relating to gender, in determining health outcomes. At this point, one might expect to see a high degree of gender equality in the health sector. But a recent report by the advocacy and accountability group Global Health 50/50 shows otherwise. … Many of [the organizations examined in the report] are falling embarrassingly short on addressing gender disparities. … Looking ahead, we hope to see all global health organizations adopt concrete measures to address the shortcomings identified in the Global Health 50/50 report. Failing that, we would recommend that next year’s report also rank the organizations in question, to make clear which of them are still falling behind. Women once had to fight for the right to vote, and we are now fighting for paid parental leave and equal pay. But we must go further, by also advocating for accountability and gender equality in the sphere of global public health” (5/8).