A new landmark report, The Global Health 50/50 Report, launched today on International Women’s Day, reveals that only a select group of the world’s top global health organisations place gender equality at the centre of programmatic and institutional operations.

The 140 organisations involved in the study are those from the United Nations system; bilateral and multilateral development institutions; philanthropic organisations and funders; civil society and non-governmental organisations; public-private partnerships; and the private sector.  Explore the data here.

An overarching finding highlights that global health organisations have yet to fully commit to gender equality, with only one in three stating a commitment to gender equality to benefit the health of all people.

The report identifies 18 high-scoring organisations. The nine highest-scoring organisations are: BRAC; Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ); GAVI; The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria; Population Reference Bureau; Save the Children International; Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida); Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS); and UNICEF.

Worryingly, one-third have no stated committed to gender equality, and the remainder of the organisations are silent on specific actions related to gender and/or women and girls. The report underscores that decision-making power remains in the hands of men, although women constitute the vast majority of people working in global health, accounting for 67% of employees in the health and social sectors. Further findings include:

  • Fewer than one-third of organisations define gender in a manner consistent with global norms, a prerequisite for effective and equitable programming;
  • Only 40% of organisations mention gender in their programme and strategy documents;
  • Two-thirds of organisations do not disaggregate their programme data by sex;
  • 43 organisations (30%) make no reference to workplace gender equality;
  • 20% of organisations have achieved gender parity on their boards;
  • A quarter (25%) of organisations have achieved gender parity at the level of senior management;
  • 69% of organisations are headed by men; and
  • 80% of board chairs are men.

Recommendations
A significant feature of the Global Health 50/50 Report is the set of evidence-informed recommendations it presents across the seven domains of organisational commitment to gender equality. The recommendations were developed in consultation with GH5050’s Advisory Council. Some of the recommendations in the report include:

  • Leaders in organisations need to exercise commitment to gender equality and incentivise policies and practices that respond to evidence on the impact of gender on the health, well-being and careers of women and men;
  • Organisations should put in place policies and processes to ensure a common understanding and ownership of the definition of gender, and the practices required to achieve gender equality;
  • Move beyond the tendency to conflate gender with women;
  • Embed gender markers in the review and approval process of all new programmes and initiatives;
  • Demonstrate and implement zero tolerance for sexual and gender harassment; and
  • Set time-bound targets for reaching gender parity in senior management and governing bodies.

Global Health 50/50 is an independent initiative created to advance accountability and action for gender equality in global health. REFERENCE: This posting includes extracts from the Press Release available here