A Warm Welcome to Dr. Tedros

On July 1st, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stepped into his new position as Director General of the World Health Assembly. With promises to encourage bolder and more sustainable investments and partnerships to advance girls' and women's health and rights, enhance WHO's capacity to disaggregate data by gender and collect better data on the intersection between gender and health, Women in Global Health is looking forward to his leadership.

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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