Are global health organizations gender responsive or gender blind?

MANILA — A new report examining the gender structure and policies of 140 global health organizations shows that men dominate leadership positions. It also reveals that the majority of these organizations lack concrete gender policies in the workplace and in their programs.

Of the 140 organizations featured in the Global Health 50/50 report, 43 are headed by women and only 25 have women as board chairs. Organizations here include public-private partnerships, NGOs, bilateral and multilateral donors, United Nations agencies, philanthropic foundations, private companies, and consulting firms.

When it comes to senior management, 32 organizations have achieved 45 - 55 percent gender parity, and 23 have achieved similar parity at board level.

The disparity is most widespread in the private sector. Only five of 44 private sector companies are headed by a woman executive. Only one organization — The International Food and Beverage Alliance — has a female board chair, though this position is shared with a male board chair. Three organizations have achieved gender parity in senior management, and two at board level.

“The initiative was established with the aim of promoting dialogue on two issues. One is blindingly obvious, namely that men rule global health,” said Kent Buse, one of the authors of the report and co-lead of Global Health 50/50, an initiative launched last year with the aim of advancing action and accountability for gender equality in global health institutions.

But the report went further to examine to what extent organizations have committed to and taken action on promoting gender equality in the workplace as well as in their programs.  Read more via Devex