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PMNCH named "high scorer" on gender equality in global health

PMNCH has been recognized as a high-scoring organization in the latest annual report from Global Health 50/50, Gender equality: Flying blind in a time of crisis. The 2021 report reviewed 201 organizations to assess how gender equality is being advanced within organizations and health programmes, taking an in-depth look at gender in health-related COVID-19 responses.

PMNCH was ranked in the top 20% of the sample overall, which includes UN organizations, governmental agencies, international NGOs, research organizations, private sector companies and others. Assessed against 14 variables across four dimensions using a traffic light system, PMNCH scored “green” across most of the areas assessed, including organizational public commitment to gender equality; workplace gender equality; diversity and inclusion policies; gender parity in senior management and governing bodies; and gender of organizational head.

"By taking deliberate and transparent actions, PMNCH keeps the pressure on themselves and others in the sector to continue pushing for change, and provides much needed hope that we can achieve gender equality in our quest for health, dignity and social justice for all," said Professors Sarah Hawkes and Kent Buse, co-founders of Global Health 50/50, hosted by the University College London’s Centre for Gender and Global Health.

The 2021 report, released on International Women’s Day on 8 March, found that sex and gender have been largely missing in the global health pandemic response to date. The report found that consideration of gender was present in fewer than two in 10 COVID-19 health-related activities. Yet the gendered effects of the pandemic are omnipresent, determining who gets access to services, who gets tested, and who faces elevated risks of severe illness and death. For example, while twice as many men globally have been admitted to Intensive Care Units with COVID-19, women have faced pronounced barriers in accessing health services during the pandemic. Women – making up 70% of the global health workforce -- bear the largest share of infections among health workers.

"The failure to address gender in this pandemic does not arise from a lack of data or evidence,” said Helen Clark, PMNCH Board chair and former prime minister of New Zealand. “With Global Health 50/50 reporting that 80% of global health organizations espouse commitments to gender equality, we are left to wonder why, when the evidence is so clear on the gendered risks, the response has been so overwhelmingly gender-blind."

PMNCH’s own Call to Action on COVID-19, issued in 2020, highlights the importance of advancing gender equality in the context of the pandemic. The Call to Action’s 7-point agenda calls on all partners to combat the devastating direct and indirect effects of the pandemic, including through expanding access to sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health services. "Partners must pull together in supporting governments to prioritize women, children and adolescents in COVID national responses," said Helga Fogstad, Executive Director of PMNCH. “We need more financial, policy and service delivery commitments that apply a gender lens.”

Now in its fourth year, the Global Health 50/50 report seeks to assess how gender is understood and practiced by organizations working in and/or influencing the field of global health across multiple dimensions, including organizational public commitment to gender equality, workplace policy content, gender and geography of leadership and gender-responsive programming.