Empowering women health leaders for improved health outcomes


The global health sector stands to benefit significantly from the perspectives and talents of women in leadership positions.

However, a new report released by The Fred Hollows Foundation reveals that unless immediate action is taken to achieve equal representation, the industry will continue to lose out on these invaluable contributions.

At the Women Deliver 2023 conference in Kigali, Rwanda, The Fred Hollows Foundation unveiled its groundbreaking report titled “Women Deliver Eye Health: Let’s Reframe Who Leads It.”

The Foundation’s Global Advocacy Executive Director Jennifer Gersbeck emphasised the urgency of the matter by highlighting World Health Organization data showing that while women constitute 70% of the global healthcare workforce, they hold less than 25% of the most influential leadership positions.

“It’s clear that women are being excluded from leadership positions in global health – having more women in positions of power will generate better public health outcomes for women and girls,” Gersbeck said.

The report showcases a compelling argument for the significance of gender parity in the workforce and leadership. According to The Foundation’s analysis, closing the gender gap could potentially add a staggering US$12 trillion to global output by 2025.

The report identifies several key barriers that need to be addressed to overcome this disparity:

  1. Lack of investment in women’s mentoring
  2. Workplace bullying and sexual harassment
  3. Perpetuating gender stereotypes
  4. Gender pay gap and discrimination

Gersbeck pointed out the significant loss that the global health sector experiences by not fully tapping into the talent and perspectives of women.

“If these barriers are removed, women leaders can significantly expand the global health agenda and give greater priority to issues that affect women and girls,” she added.

This approach will not only enhance decision-making processes but also improve services to better cater to the needs of the entire population.

A striking revelation from the report is that women and girls account for 55% of the world’s blind and vision-impaired. The Fred Hollows Foundation firmly believes that achieving gender parity in eye health leadership will help bridge inequities in eye health care.

Download a copy of Women Deliver Eye Health: Let’s Reframe Who Leads It to find out more.

This article was originally published in the Third Sector.


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