In a recent announcement, the World Health Organization made its cooperation with Women in Global Health official by signing a much-awaited Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs). Women are integral to the healthcare industry and their aid is indispensable in ensuring the prosperity and wellbeing of any nation. However, historically women have been facing undoubted discrimination in every field of work. The World Health Organization’s move is aimed at bridging the gap formed by workplace gender discrimination over the years. The MoU was signed on 8th March 2022, the eve of International Women’s Day with the predominant theme of ‘Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world’.
The much-awaited MoU was crafted between two parties, the Executive Director of Women in Global Health, Dr. Roopa Dhatt, and the WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. The move strives to pay homage to the nearly 70% of the population in the healthcare sector consisting of women who have been tirelessly contributing to the betterment of society for decades. Women deserve positions in decision-making bodies to allow them an equal representation as to their male counterparts. The world is in increasing need of the bold voices of women who would lead the advancements in the medical sector along with men. The World Health Organization recognizes the need of the hour and attempts to undo the historical discrimination.
The MoU is signed with the aim of achieving the common goals of women’s economic development and gender transformative change in the healthcare workforce worldwide and the Universal Health Coverage. As one of the similar initiatives, the World Health Organization has recently co-launched the ‘Gender Equal Health and Care Workforce’ programme in association with the French government and Women in Global Health in the February of 2021 to direct attention towards gender equity in the health sector around these four integral themes:
- Increasing women’s representation as staff and leaders in healthcare
- Offering equal pay for the equal amount of work and acknowledging unpaid healthcare work
- Safeguarding women in healthcare against workplace sexual harassment and violence
- Ensuring proper and safe working conditions for women in healthcare (including prioritization in COVID-vaccination lists and access to personal protective gear)
While signing the MoU, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has confirmed, “this is a year to renew our focus on advancing equity, as a cornerstone of WHO’s mission to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable.” According to a unanimous decision by the World Health Assembly in the November of 2020, the year 2021 has been deemed as the ‘International Year of Health and Care Workers’. The year also marks the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action’s 25th anniversary. As we combat the casualties of the COVID pandemic, the world heads towards a more progressive society where there is equitable representation and distribution of resources between genders and the World Health Organization’s recent venture facilitates the advancement.