Women in Global Health’s Affirmative Stand at the UN-HLM (UNGA74)
In the wake of the UN high level meeting (HLM-UHC) themed, Universal Health Coverage: Moving Together to Build a Healthier World,’ Women in Global Health takes a proactive position to support UHC and health for all. We envision taking deliberate actions during the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) high-level week to advocate for the UHC Asks.
“Making Universal Health Coverage a Reality” is one of the two dominant areas that will be covered on 23rd September 2019 besides Climate Action. WGH’s quest to support the attainment of UHC by 2030 is occasioned by the thoughtful push for the 7th Ask, which was inspired by the UN-HLM multi-stakeholder meeting that took place on 29th April 2019. Ask 7 details “Gender Equality and Women’s Rights as Drivers of Health.” Our objective is to make everyone count, and we can only do so by promoting gender inclusivity and sensitivity in global health.
We are interested in ensuring that gender equality is mainstreamed, and not marginalized in UHC. The effort placed by WGH in ensuring that gender equality does not slip the UHC agenda is noticeable. Under the Alliance for Gender Equality and UHC, WGH works with 106 other NGOs globally to promote gender equality and the rights of women and girls. WGH also demystifies the gender construct, which has over the past made people believe that only women rights matter. Our inclusive approach to gender equality is sensitive to the needs of all genders and sexualities because equality does not men women alone. Thirdly, we are interested in the recognition of women health workers as agents of change. Unfortunately, 70% of the health workforce represents women most of whom dedicate and average of 3 - 6 hours daily to unpaid labor. WGH’s position is that if it is “Delivered by women and led by men,” then UHC will not be achieved.
WGH is also a proponent of climate action. Climate change is a health crisis that disparately affects people across gender lines. Based on UNDP and UNESCO findings, gender equality, women’s empowerment and climate change are directly related. Undoubtedly, young and old people are advocating for a healthy and clean planet. They have taken to the streets in support of the #climateStrike because of the healthy complications associated with climate change. For WGH, climate=health and everyone has a right to clean air. Dominant issues relating to climate change include heat stress, mental health, air pollution, vector-borne diseases, food security and clean water, and extreme weather. Without equality, and women’s empowerment, the vulnerable group will continually face disproportionate marginalization in matters pertaining to climate change mitigation.
We believe that necessary adjustments must be made to promote gender transformative leadership. With women at the table, sexual and reproductive health rights will be protected. Thus, numbers of female health ministers must increase beyond 30%, parliamentarians must be more than 24%, and women leaders above 15%. As WGH, our key message is to drive better health, economic growth, and women empowerment across various demographics and psychographics. WGH intends on leaving no one behind.