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From eliminating the gender wage gap in health workers to ensuring equal opportunities for all people to access health services that meet their needs
It serves as an essential pillar for achieving universal health coverage. So on this World Health Day, let’s look at where global health organizations themselves are ahead and behind in promoting equality.
Examples Of Gender Inequality
All over the world, women earn less than men. As a result, the human capital in the world is about 20% less than it should be. Much of this deficit is the result of policies and practices that range from gender blindness to overtly discriminatory. At the national level, the World Bank reports that 2.7 billion women are still legally prohibited from having the same choice of work as men, and only six countries currently grant women and men equal rights to work
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A new report, Equality Works, examines gender equality in the workplace, especially of those organizations active in global health. We can expect key actors in the health sector to commit to gender equality, pursue gender-equitable workplaces, have gender accountability strategies and, at a minimum, report data disaggregated by sex in the monitoring and evaluation of their programs. However, all too often, this is not the case.
Global Health 50/50 produces the world’s largest interactive database on the state of gender equality in global organizations active in the health sector. The initiative’s second annual report examines the gender policies and practices of 198 such organizations, based in 28 countries and employing 4.5 million people. The report provides an in-depth look at how organizations are taking action to promote gender equality in the workplace and in their programs across four dimensions and ten domains (see Figure 1).
Progress has been made in the year since our first report, as issues of gender equality and women’s empowerment have reached new political heights, led by the #MeToo, #TimesUp and She Decide movements and promoted from independent initiatives such as Global Health 50/50. The organization’s commitment to gender equality has grown by 30%, reaching 71% in 2019. Progress in other areas has been less encouraging.
Terminology matters. Gender is often a sticking point for language wars in international forums. At the 63rd Commission on the Status of Women last month, some Member States tried to replace what they described as “gender jargon” with a focus on women and girls. Political intentions vary; However, the results include a limited scope to identify and correct historical gender power imbalances if the focus remains only on half of the population, removing the role and benefit of men in achieving equality of gender and define transgender people out of existence.
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Therefore, it is worrying that, despite a growing commitment to gender equality, the meaning of gender remains poorly defined by key actors, with significant variations between sectors. We found that only 32% of organizations define gender in accordance with global norms, ie as a social construction other than biological sex.
If history is any indication, power imbalances are not passively corrected: progress is made through affirmative and deliberate questions and responsible actions. However
Reports that half of the organizations lack specific measures that would facilitate equal career opportunities for women. Furthermore, less than a third of the sexual harassment policies examined contained all four components of best practices (as determined by Global Health 50/50; Fig. 3).
Inadequate leave for new parents and the lack of flexible work arrangements for people with families undermine efforts to achieve gender equality in the workplace. Imposing paternity leave to encourage a more equitable distribution of child-rearing activities between men and women increases, on average, the percentage of women employed in formal organizations by nearly 7%. However
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Therefore, it is not surprising that vast asymmetries of power and pay remain between men and women in global health. In four out of ten organizations, less than a third of senior managers are women. Only a quarter of organizations have gender equality in their governing bodies.
In global health, more than 70% of chief executives and board chairs are men (Fig. 4). And female leaders are likely to be paid less: Of the 27 US-based NGOs surveyed, male CEOs are paid an average of $41,000 more than female CEOs, even after controlling for revenue amounts.
The data deficit remains a significant obstacle to the comprehensive monitoring of organizational performance on gender. Only 14% of organizations had all three gender workplace policies examined by GH5050 in the public domain: gender equality in the workplace, sexual harassment and parental leave. For most organizations, including publicly funded organizations, policies to facilitate women’s career advancement are not publicly available. This prevents both the organization and potential personnel from making informed choices.
Take the gender pay gap. We found that only eight of the 198 organizations voluntarily report their gap. Another 42 reported their data as required by British law: among these organizations, the average salary of men is 13.5% higher and the bonus pay of men is 22.8% higher than that of women.
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We commend the World Bank for its commitment and action regarding gender equality: the Bank has been identified as a “high performer” and among the few organizations that publicly report the three workplace policies in relation to the gender under consideration. Global Health 50/50 encourages all organizations to explore how to achieve more feminist, diverse and inclusive leadership and policies to achieve universal health coverage and equal career opportunities for all. A new global analysis of progress on gender equality and women’s rights shows that women and girls are disproportionately affected by the socio-economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, struggling with job losses and disproportionately high livelihoods, disruptions in education and increased unpaid care work. Women’s health services, underfunded even before the pandemic, have suffered serious disruptions, undermining women’s sexual and reproductive health. And despite the central role of women in the COVID-19 response, even as frontline health workers, they are still largely overlooked for the leadership positions they deserve.
The latest report by UN Women, together with UN DESA, Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals: The Gender Snapshot 2021, presents the latest data on gender equality in all 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The report highlights the progress made since 2015, but also the ongoing alarm about the COVID-19 pandemic, its immediate effects on women’s well-being and the threat it poses to future generations.
A year and a half after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, the toll on the poorest and most vulnerable people remains devastating and disproportionate. The combined impact of conflict, extreme weather events and COVID-19 has deprived women and girls of even basic needs such as food security. Without urgent action to stem the rise of poverty, hunger and inequality, particularly in countries affected by conflict and other acute crises, millions of people will continue to suffer.
Extreme poverty is on the rise in 2021 and progress towards its eradication is reversed. It is estimated that approximately 435 million women and girls worldwide live in extreme poverty.
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More than 150 million women and girls could get out of poverty by 2030 if governments implement a comprehensive strategy to improve access to education and family planning, achieve equal pay and extend social transfers.
The global gender gap in food security has increased dramatically during the pandemic, with more women and girls going hungry. Food insecurity levels for women were 10% higher than for men in 2020, up from 6% in 2019.
, including by supporting small-scale female producers, who generally earn much less than men, through more funding, training and land rights reforms.
Disruptions to essential health services due to COVID-19 are putting a strain on women and girls. In the first year of the pandemic, there were an estimated 1.4 million more unwanted pregnancies in low- and middle-income countries.
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The response to the pandemic must include prioritizing sexual and reproductive health services, ensuring they continue to operate safely now and after the pandemic is long over. In addition, more support is needed to ensure the availability of life-saving personal protective equipment, tests, oxygen and especially vaccines in rich and poor countries, as well as for the vulnerable population in the countries.
A year and a half after the start of the pandemic, schools remain partially or completely closed in 42% of the world’s countries and territories. School closures mean lost opportunities for girls and an increased risk of violence, exploitation and early marriage.
Measures specifically focused on supporting girls returning to school are urgently needed, including measures focused on girls from marginalized communities most at risk.
The pandemic has tested and even reversed progress in expanding women’s rights and opportunities. Reports of violence against women and girls, a “shadow” pandemic for COVID-19, are on the rise in many parts of the world. COVID-19 is also intensifying the workload of women at home, forcing many of them to drop out of the workforce altogether.
How To Achieve True Gender Equality In The Workplace
Building differently and better will depend on placing women and girls at the center of all aspects of response and recovery, including through gender-responsive laws, policies and budgets.
In 2018, nearly 2.3 billion people lived in water-stressed countries. Without clean water, adequate sanitation and menstrual hygiene facilities, women and girls find it more difficult to lead safe, productive and healthy lives.
Increasing demand for clean energy and low-carbon solutions is driving an unprecedented transformation of the energy sector. But women were excluded. Women occupy only 32% of jobs in renewable energy.
Causes Of Gender Inequality
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