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More women health leaders the solution to better health outcomes


(Image Credit: AdobeStock/luismolinero)

(Image Credit: AdobeStock/luismolinero)

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

The Foundation released the “Women Deliver Eye Health: Let’s Reframe Who Leads It” report – at the Women Deliver 2023 conference in Kigali, Rwanda.

The Foundation’s Global Advocacy Executive Director Jennifer Gersbeck said 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.

The Foundation’s report shows that an estimated US$12 trillion could be added to global output by 2025 if the gender gap was closed in both the workforce and leadership.

Key barriers 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,” Ms Gersbeck said.

“If these barriers 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 said.

Ms 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 said.

The “Women Deliver Eye Health: Let’s Reframe Who Leads It” report can be downloaded at: Women Deliver Eye Health. Let's Reframe Who Leads It. (hollows.org)

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