A Special Acknowledgement, A Farewell to Dr. Margaret Chan

A special thank-you to WHO Director General Dr. Margaret Chan for her 10 years of leadership, a decade of commitment to global health.

1. We appreciate her voicing a women's leadership perspective in global health.

“The way I look at - speaking as a woman - I understand what it means to be a daughter, and to be a wife, and to be a mother, and also to be a career woman. The multiple roles that women can play in a society if given the opportunity is really a tremendous asset.”

--Dr. Margaret Chan

2. We appreciate her being a patron for the "Women's leadership in global health" strategy series in Geneva organized by the Global Health Centre at the Graduate Institute and Women in Global Health, which resulted in our Call to Action for Gender Equality in Global Health, published in the Lancet this January 2017.

3. More recently, on the basis of WHA49.9 (May 1996) resolution and to support the aim of achievement of SDG 5 (Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls), as WHO Director General and a International Gender Champion, Dr. Margaret Chan initiated a shift in the culture of gender representation at WHO official meetings, through encouraging Member States to consider that gender balance be applied to their delegations at the 140th WHO Executive Board meeting. Women in Global Health in our monitoring of gender representation noticed an increase of women chief delegates at WHA from 22% in 2015 to 31% in 2017, which is the highest representation in a decade.

We await your continued leadership to advance global health and gender equality, as DG emeritus, Dr. Chan!

A farewell from emerging leaders…

A perspective by Joy Mauti, on the 10 Years of Leadership on Global Health, Farwell to Margaret Chan, an event hosted by the Global Health Centre, Graduate Institute on June 27th, 2017 in Geneva.

Dr. Chan acknowledged both her successes and shortcomings. She recalled her tenure as “eventful” being challenged with various crisis including violence against women and health care workers. She never “shied” away from these challenges but with the collaboration of countries and colleagues they faced them. This passion translated to seeing improvement of health in Africa and women globally. However, she did admit that a lot more needs to be done.

She would like to see more women promoted into senior positions in global health and thanked Professor Ilona Kickbusch and everyone who endeavored to see this came to pass.

Building trust for Dr. Chan is a foundation for multilateralism. She joked that indeed she had used all the “tricks in her tool box”. She looks to the young people to influence their countries with their novelty

- Joy Mauti, Emerging Voices for Global Health 2016, a PhD student University of Heidelberg and Visiting Fellow at the Graduate Institute Geneva

Moving Ahead: the #NextDG

In closing, with the departure of Dr. Chan, the Global Health Partnership H6, only 1 out of the 6 UN agencies responsible for promoting and implementing the global health agenda across the United Nations system: UNAIDS, UNFPA, UNICEF, UN Women, WHO and the World Bank Group, has a non-interim woman leading. This drops the representation of women to 16%, while top influencers of Global Health Public-Private Partnerships, including groups such as Global Fund and GAVI have their leadership trends also skewed toward men.

For the next WHO Director General Dr. Tedros, a champion for gender equality, the leadership challenge is clear: achieve gender equality in the top ranks of WHO and foster a gender transformative environment in global health to achieve SDG 3 & 5 and Universal Health Coverage (UHC). Our recommendations:

1. Submit to the Executive Board in January 2018 a budgeted plan for reaching the gender parity target Resolution WHA 50.16 (1997) with benchmarks, targets and clear accountability, including performance indicators for WHO HQ and Regional Offices.

2. Appoint a senior staff member reporting to you as the WHO Gender Parity Champion to drive organization wide actions and monitor progress for a more gender sensitive workplace and work culture at WHO, including meeting protocols.

3. Include achieving gender parity in your annual performance plan and review and make it a mandatory performance indicator for WHO Regional Directors.

4. Appoint a minimum of 50% women to posts at grade D1 and above in WHO by 2020 at the latest with the exception of elected posts.

5. Appoint a minimum of 50% women to posts in the DG’s Office by the end of 2017.

6. Ensure that WHO adopts the 60/40 Gender Parity Rule in all Panels run and supported by WHO worldwide.

7. Urge WHO Member States to achieve gender parity in delegations to the WHA and regional policy-making meetings by including this in invitations and reporting back on gender disaggregated data in meeting reports (WHA49.9 (May 1996) and SDG 5).

Finally, we offer every support in addressing gender parity at WHO. There is considerable momentum and commitment within civil society and Member States for gender equality,

About Us: Women in Global Health

Established in 2015, Women in Global Health was founded with the values of being a movement. WGH works with other global health organizations to encourage stakeholders from governments, civil society, foundations, academia and professional associations and the private sector to achieve gender equality in global health leadership in their space of influence. We are virtually based and use a partnership model to support our activities and, with a core team of seven and a broader network of hundreds from around the world. We are registered as a non-profit and have an open application for Federal 503.1c status in the USA.

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