Youth Pre-Forum: Gender and the Health Workforce

Women in Global Health’s Executive Director, Roopa Dhatt, joined Dr. Ivy Bourgeault of the University of Ottawa, Katherine J Wyne on the United Nations, and Paisly Seymenuk of the Global Association of Student and Novice Nurses at the Youth Pre-Forum at the 4th Global Forum on Human Resources for Health on November 14th, in Dublin, Ireland. The roundtable discussion centered around ‘Gender and the Health Workforce’.


1. Majority of the young people have not had a gender equality conversation, event at their home institutions.

2. Gender Equity vs Gender Equality, we need equity to get to equality.

3. Diversity in Leadership is important- we improve our knowledge pool, improve our understanding of problems and more sustainable solutions.

4. When looking at leadership - we need to disaggregate it by more than sex, gender, but also geographically, generational, and professional backgrounds.

5. There are data gaps, we all need to work on addressing this, however, our focus should be on policy implementation and accountability frameworks.

Attendees of this sessions had a the opportunity to interact with the speakers and put together a list of important points to remember:

  • Invest in health workers is about investing in women.

  • Recognize and value the contributions of women in the health workforce.

  • Close the gender data gap, we all have role in completing this. Foster disaggregated data as an essential aspect of measuring data, gender is part of a broader context of social, cultural, economic, professional dimensions.

As health workers in the field, participants also proposed a list of points they needed to do as action items, for themselves and their colleagues/employers:

  • Ask for Equal Pay for Equal Work.

  • Ask what are their gender equality priorities & commitments

  • Ask what are the accountability mechanisms being used to ensure their gender equality commitment is achieving its goals

  • Ask them to support the Gender Equity Hub, a thematic hub co-chaired by WHO & Women in Global Health in the Global Health Workforce Network.

  • Make sure to take this conversation back to your own communities- consider signing a gender parity pledge, nominate, mentor, sponsor a women in global health, hold a dialogue & work toward changing institutional policy as take home actions.

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