Statistics from Altmetric.com
Despite numerous global and national commitments to gender-inclusive global health governance, COVID-19 followed the usual modus operandi –excluding women’s voices. A mere 3.5% of 115 identified COVID-19 decision-making and expert task forces have gender parity in their membership while 85.2% are majority men.
With 87 countries included in this analysis, information regarding task force composition and membership criteria was not easily publicly accessible for the majority of United Nations Member States, impeding the ability to hold countries accountable to previously made commitments.
Lack of representation is one symptom of a broken system where governance is not inclusive of gender, geography, sexual orientation, race, socio-economic status or disciplines within and beyond health – ultimately excluding those who offer unique perspectives and expertise.
Functional health systems require radical and systemic change that ensures gender-responsive and intersectional practices are the norm – rather than the exception.
Open, inclusive and transparent communication and decision-making must be prioritised over closed-door or traditional forms of governance.
Data collection and governance policies must include sex and gender data, and strive for an intersectionality approach that includes going beyond binary representation in order to produce results that are inclusive of the full gender spectrum.
A growing chorus of voices are questioning the glaring lack of women in COVID-19 decision-making bodies. Men dominating leadership positions in global health has long been the default mode of governing. This is a symptom of a broken system where governance is not inclusive of any type of diversity, be it gender, geography, sexual orientation, race, socio-economic status or disciplines within and beyond health – excluding those who offer unique perspectives, expertise and lived realities. This not only reinforces inequitable power structures but undermines an effective COVID-19 response – ultimately costing lives.
By providing quantitative data, we critically assess the gender gap in task …
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