As part of the ‘Getting the balance right: Addressing gender power relations in and beyond health systems research’ campaign, on 20 April 2020, Health Systems Global (HSG) will be hosting a webinar to explore these challenges and find ways to address them.
The webinar will ask: what are the power dynamics in global health, within global agencies, journals or local health departments that hold women and other groups back from reaching their full potential?
The panel will be chaired by Pascale Allotey, Director, United Nations University International Institute for Global Health (UNU-IIGH).
The panel includes:
- Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist, World Health Organization
- Shaheem DeVries, Medical Director, Western Cape Government Health Emergency Medical Services
- Jocalyn Clark, Public Health Scientist and Executive Editor, The Lance
Achieving gender equality in global health
As the 8th March is International Women’s Day, with a focus on how to forge a gender equal world, the Getting the Balance Right campaign is shining a spotlight on the global health research community. In research, women are faced by a myriad of barriers, stopping them from reaching their full potential. These barriers are exacerbated by intersecting inequalities, such as race, socioeconomic status and disability.
In 2015, women accounted for 53 per cent of the world’s graduates from bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Whilst women are actively pursuing degrees at these levels, the figures for women progressing to PhD level and then into academic and research employment significantly declines. The lack of women holding research and senior positions in research and higher education institutions continues to skew and shape the focus and direction of research and reinforces the message that there is no space for women at the top.
Women and men should have equal access to and a balanced participation in leadership. Yet, there is still very masculine image of science and research and the bulk of high-level positions remain occupied by men.
Unconscious gender biases impede objective and fair judgement of women in the workplace and keeps them pigeon-holed within traditionally ‘feminine’ characterized sectors (including Health Policy and Systems Research).
Striving for gender balance is of fundamental value, not only for fairness, but for competitiveness, attracting and retaining talent, and for the generation of quality research. Underpinning that must be clear and direct action to create a supportive and equitable workplace that truly acknowledges the fine balance many must strike in their lives.
Image credit: Toby Phillips Photography