Opinion: Global Health Security Depends on Women
As COVID-19 exposes gaps in the world’s pandemic response infrastructure — and challenges our collective social, political, and economic systems — we are faced with an opportunity to tackle the defining issue undermining global health infrastructure: inequality.
Pandemic response efforts are deeply undermined by fundamental gender inequities in the health workforce and wider society. Women represent 70% of the global health workforce, and yet they make up just 25% of global health leadership. In the U.K., the pandemic security response team is entirely men; in its first iteration, the U.S. team was the same.
We know that when women are in positions of global health leadership, women’s needs will be reflected in global health policy. As COVID-19 reshapes our health systems in the coming months, there is an unparalleled opportunity to build gender equity into a system that has long absolved itself of it.
Here are five asks that — if acted upon immediately by governments, private donors, the media, and the research community — could hard-wire gender equality into health systems and ensure health security for us all, now and in the future.
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