Forward – Amina J. Mohammed, New York, February 2018
From the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General: Foreword Gender equality is fundamental to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. But to focus our efforts in the right arenas, track progress over time and hold each other accountable, we need transparent data and analysis. That is why this report is an important milestone. Thanks to the efforts of Global Health 50/50, the gender dimensions of global health are increasingly clear.
The report shows that, although gender is one of the most significant social determinants of health outcomes, the global health community remains largely gender-blind. This holds true both in ensuring gender parity in leadership across public, private and civil society organisations and in delivering gender-responsive programmes.
The report, however, gives reason for hope. First, some organisations have shown that, with leadership and determination, it is possible to advance gender equality. I am particularly pleased to see United Nations (UN) organisations performing well and committing to a holistic vision of gender equality. But there is always room for improvement. Strengthening delivery for all requires dedicated gender expertise, scaled-up resources and a greater understanding of gender by all staff. The Secretary-General is committed to advancing this priority to transform our institutional culture so we can deliver on the 2030 Agenda for all.
Second, the report shows that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) made huge inroads in improving child and maternal health and curbing the burden of infectious diseases. It is now time to increase focus on the neglected targets of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 on health and wellbeing, and to address them from a nuanced gender perspective. In that regard, the European Union and United Nations Spotlight Initiative to eliminate violence against women and girls has women’s access to health services, including sexual and reproductive health, as one of its core pillars.
Third, the report argues we need to take issues such as early forced marriage, adolescent unintended pregnancies and gender-based violence more seriously. The United Nations is committed to leading through the work of its various funds and programmes. The organisation has also committed to improve its effectiveness in preventing sexual exploitation and abuse and to put the rights and dignity of victims at the centre of its efforts.
The approach of Global Health 50/50 is in line with the 2030 Agenda in making explicit the interdependence of the SDGs and—as a joint initiative of researchers and policy-makers from all sectors and regions—in showing the power of partnership. I urge the global health community to reflect on the findings presented and to act to improve practice. I hope, too, that other sectors will follow suit and undertake similar analysis. It is only by embedding gender analysis and action deep in the global structures of development cooperation that we will achieve sustainable and inclusive development that leaves no one behind.
Explore the data and learn more about the initiative at Globalhealth5050.org