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Foundation: More women health leaders a solution to better health outcomes

Article

According to The Fred Hollows Foundation, an estimated $12 trillion could be added to global output by 2025 if the gender gap was closed in both the workforce and leadership.

A woman doctor standing and smiling. (Image Credit: AdobeStock/Talia M/peopleimages.com)

(Image Credit: AdobeStock/Talia M/peopleimages.com)

According to new research from The Fred Hollows Foundation, the global health sector will continue to lose out on women’s talent and perspectives unless measures are taken to accelerate toward equal representation in senior leadership positions.

According to a news release, the foundation released the “Women Deliver Eye Health: Let’s Reframe Who Leads It” report – at the Women Deliver 2023 conference, held July 17-20 in Kigali, Rwanda.

Jennifer Gersbeck, the foundation’s executive director of Global Advocacy, noted in the news release that World Health Organization data – showing that women comprised 70 percent of the global healthcare workforce but occupied less than 25 percent of the most influential leadership positions – underlined the need for immediate action.

“It’s clear that women are being excluded from leadership positions in global health – having more women in positions of power will generate better public health outcomes for women and girls,” she said in the news release.

Moreover, in its report the foundation pointed out that an estimated $12 trillion could be added to global output by 2025 if the gender gap was closed in both the workforce and leadership.

The primary hurdles to overcome include less investment in women’s mentoring, workplace bullying and sexual harassment, perpetuating norms and gender stereotypes, gender pay gap and discrimination.

“Global health is losing out on the talent, skills and perspectives of women,” Gersbeck said in the release.

Gersbeck added that when the hurdles are removed, women leaders can significantly expand the global health agenda and give greater priority to issues that affect women and girls.

“Enabling equal representation supports diverse decision-making and services that better reflect the needs of the entire population,” she added in the news release.

Gersbeck said women and girls accounted for 55% of the world’s blind and vision impaired.

“The Fred Hollows Foundation believes that achieving gender parity in eye health leadership will help reduce inequities in eye health,” she concluded in the news release.

The “Women Deliver Eye Health: Let’s Reframe Who Leads It” report can be downloaded online.

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