New Policy Action Paper Launched

A new World Health Organization (WHO) Policy Action Paper was recently launched by the WHO’s Global Health Workforce Network’s Gender Equity Hub, in collaboration with Women in Global Health (WGH). 

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Women comprise almost 70% of the global health and care workforce but hold only 25% of senior decision-making roles. A new WHO Policy Action Paper Closing the leadership gap: gender equity and leadership in the global health and care workforce was launched on June 8, 2021 by the WHO’s Global Health Workforce Network’s Gender Equity Hub, in collaboration with Women in Global Health. The Action Paper explores the status of women in leadership in the health and care sector, which employs 164 million women worldwide, and the negative impact for women and health systems of their underrepresentation in leadership. The Action Paper contributes insights into women’s leadership in health and care and policy interventions to ensure more gender-equitable and representative leadership.

The Action Paper builds on a WHO report published in 2019 – Delivered by Women, Led by Men: A gender and Equity Analysis of the Global Health and Social Workforce (in collaboration with WGH) – which highlighted a significant gender leadership gap in the health and social workforce. It also builds on a policy brief, Gender Equity, and Leadership in the Global Health and Social Workforce, issued by the Gender Equity Hub for consultation in 2020.

The Action Paper provides practical examples of gender-transformative policy guidance for policymakers to incorporate gender equity into health and social workforce policies. It proposes a Framework for Change with four action areas: 

  1. Build a foundation for equality
  2. Address social norms and stereotypes
  3. Address workplace systems and culture
  4. Enable women to achieve

In the end, the Policy Action Paper provides actionable messaging, such as:

  • We can't fix this by changing women. Systematic change is needed at all levels.
  • An intersectional approach is essential to address differences between women and factors such as race, caste, disability, class, etc. that multiply disadvantage.
  • Beyond gender parity - all leaders must be gender transformative leaders - that is everybody's business.
  • Commitments on equality in leadership made in the SDGs and other global agreements. Accountability is key.
  • COVID-19 risks the gains women have made in health and care leadership.
  • Gender equal leadership in global health is the foundation of universal health care, strong health systems and global health security.

Actions For Closing The Leadership Gap

  1. Share the Closing the leadership gap: gender equity and leadership in the global health and care workforce Policy Action Paper with your policymakers
  2. Spread the word about making a commitment to the Gender Equal Health and Care Workforce Initiative (#GenderEqualHCW)
  3. Share this message on social media 
Published June 17, 2021 11:11 AM - Last modified June 17, 2021 11:17 AM