Fit for women: Improving Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for women health workers
One of the many gender inequities in the health and care workforce that COVID-19 has exposed is around the fit and design of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). The rapid onset and scale of COVID-19 led to shortages of PPE in most countries, causing preventable infection and mortality among healthcare workers and others on the front lines. Even though most health workers are women, manufacturing specifications for medical PPE are usually drawn up based on the male body; for example, surgical masks may be too large to fit women's faces, increasing their risk of infection. During the pandemic there have been many reports of PPE not designed for women's bodies and physiological functions.
PPE, like all products, is produced in compliance with standards. Working with partners including Women@TheTable, building on the UN Economic Commission for Europe's Gender-responsive Standards Declaration', and under the umbrella of Gender Equal Health and Care Workforce Initiative, WGH is leading a new project on gender equity and PPE.
We need your help!
WGH is launching a survey to assess the availability, quality and fit of PPE for women and document gender specific challenges around use. This survey will collect experiences from women as well as solicit recommendations on how to improve PPE to meet their needs. The findings will be synthesised into a report for advocacy at the UN General Assembly and beyond.
If you can't complete the survey but would like to share your experiences via phone or email, please contact email@example.com as we are also collecting anonymous testimonials.