Mar. 7, 2019

Women in health

Women in health

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On International Women’s Day, we celebrate all the women who have had a pioneering role in advancing science and health: Florence Nightingale, Fe del Mundo, Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and many others.

In 2019, however women still struggle to rise up the ranks of both health and science. Gender discrimination, implicit bias, sexual harassment, and assault have been found to be systemic barriers to women’s advancement in global health careers.

Female health workers comprise 70% of the health workforce worldwide yet women occupy only 25% of leadership positions in health and just 12% of the membership of national science academies worldwide. 

There are positive signs that things are changing, even if slowly, and evidence shows that implementing flexible working arrangements, providing mentorship programmes, and instituting formal polices on gender discrimination and harassment, and gender-specific leadership training can break down the barriers for women to lead in global health.

On 8 March 2019, it’s a moment to recall that principles of human rights and social equity require that women play just as significant roles in science and health as men.

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Women and gender equity
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