Globally women hold a minority of health leadership positions despite the fact that 80 percent of health workers, including students, trainees and academicians, are women. Gender parity in leadership in health is particularly critical to achieve Universal Health Coverage, specially since women carry a disproportionately larger burden of disease.
The problem is larger in context of Pakistan, where gender-oriented budgeting and planning are still avant-garde concepts, and the health system continues to face the challenges of not just glass ceiling, but leaking pipeline, from the bottom of the hierarchy all the way up to the top.
The Government is taking firm measures to rectify the situation, as pledged in its Voluntary National Review VNR presentation on Sustainable Development Goals earlier this year at UN General Assembly.
Significant strides are expected to be made towards achieving SDG 10 (reducing workplace inequalities) and SDG 3.8 (required health workforce pool to achieve Universal Health Coverage) through the proposed research-informed policy dialogues. WGH Pakistan will endeavor to formulate essential evidence-driven policy recommendation to make the environment conducive for the women in health at all levels. WGH Pakistan also aims to drive advocacy campaigns to gain high political commitment on gender mainstreaming at all levels of health systems and raise awareness of roles and contribution of women across health and global health
Much work is needed still to ensure gender integration in policies concerning employment and workplaces. Policy reforms are needed in the areas of fully protected paid maternity leaves, parental leave, day care centres, Statutory right for the nursing mothers to have breastfeeding breaks, availability of work-family reconciliation measures, including of part-time work for women, policies and regulations against workplace discrimination and harassment and many more.
Women in Global Health sends a clear message on the subject, a message that is echoed by everyone advocating for UHC: “To deliver Universal Health Coverage, we need serious investment in the health workforce, we need decent work for women and we need to reduce the gender inequities in leadership and pay.” To further this, WGH Pakistan will work with Gender Equity Hub on designing policy toolkit and policy bank to collate policy recommendations towards gender transformative leadership.
Specifically, WGH Pakistan will organize roundtables, policy and advocacy forums around the priority agendas, engage with experts for various technical initiatives under the ambit of WGHPakistan, and develop and strengthen regional partnerships. To share your interest in partnering with WGH Pakistan for policy advocacy initiatives, please submit an interest of expression here.