Is World Health Organization (WHO) walking the talk on gender equality?

The Reflections on WHO’s Global Program of Work (GPW13) was written by  Dr. Roopa Dhatt, Dr. Kelly Thompson and Ann Keeling of Women in Global Health and was originally posted on their site. Graphics were designed by Caity Jackson, Women in Global Health. Established in 2015, Women in Global Health was founded with the values of being a movement. WGH works with other global health organizations to encourage stakeholders from governments, civil society, foundations, academia and professional associations and the private sector to achieve gender equality in global health leadership in their space of influence. 

Graphics: Caity Jackson, Women in Global Health

Women in Global Health proposed a series of strategies to achieve gender parity in global health leaders within WHO and to strengthen gender equality in WHO’s work. Below is an assessment of the GPW13 from a gender lens based on Women in Global Health’s recommendations. They submitted 30+ recommendations – this GPW has integrated 23 out of 30 recommendations, 76% of all recommendations on gender equality have been integrated. Women in Global Health acknowledge that most of the points that have not been addressed are mainly operational in nature (5 points), therefore 96% of recommendations for strategic planning have been integrated.
While this is an ambitious agenda with many priorities, it is one we can afford to fail at—leaving no one behind, includes achieving gender equality. Their Call to Action to WHO and its Members States, is in the hands of Members States. Women in Global Health supports the most recent draft of GPW13, with the clear expectations that steps will be taken to ensure sufficient funding streams are aligned for the achievement of gender equality and gender mainstream strategies outlined in the GPW13.

Reflections on WHO’s Global Programme of Work (GPW13) Advanced Draft

Women in Global Health’s Overall Following of the GPW13

142nd WHO Executive Board Session Updates


Some highlights:

1) GPW marks a step change for WHO on gender equality
2) WGH is delighted that WHO has listened to civil society on GE, (24 out of 30 recommendations, 76% of all their recommendations have been integrated, 96% of recommendations for strategic planning have been integrated).
3) Delivery will need serious funding.
4) WHO has stepped up. Now there is a need to see similar level of commitment from the Member States, multi-laterals working in health and key donors and civil society if global targets – SDGs and UHC – are to be met.
5) WGH will support positive change because Gender Equality = smart global health.

WGH reiterates to WHO DG Dr. Tedros, the GPW13 team, Member States and to the global health community that women are agents of change, drivers of health at all levels–we must shift our mindsets to ensure our strategies realize this and we approach our solutions differently, with greater investment in gender parity and diversity in our leadership for a smarter, more sustainable global health.