View chapter 1
Executive Summary
View chapter 2
Findings: Stated commitment to gender equality
View chapter 3
Findings: Definition of gender
View chapter 4
Findings: Workplace gender equality policies
View chapter 5
Findings: Diversity and inclusion policies - Workplace and Board
View chapter 6
Findings: Anti-sexual harassment policies
View chapter 7
Findings: Family-friendly workplace policies
View chapter 8
Findings: Gender and geography of global health leadership
View chapter 9
Findings: Gender pay gap
View chapter 10
Findings: Gender-responsiveness of global health programmes
View chapter 11
Findings: Sex-disaggregated monitoring and evaluation data
View chapter 12
Analysis: Are organisations’ COVID-19 programmatic activities gender-responsive?
View chapter 13
What next: How to use this report to push for change within your organisation
View chapter 14
View chapter 15
Findings: Workplace gender equality policies

Chapter 5

Findings: Workplace gender equality policies

Ismail Odetola

The aim of gender equality in the workplace is to achieve broadly equal outcomes for women and men. Achieving gender equality is important for workplaces not only because it is ‘fair’ and ‘the right thing to do,’ but because it is also linked to increased organisational performance, enhanced ability of companies to attract talent and retain employees, and enhanced organisational reputation.

GH5050 assessed which organisations are translating their commitments to gender equality into practice through action-oriented, publicly available workplace policies. It identifies which organisations go beyond minimum legal requirements and implement affirmative policies and programmes with specific measures to actively advance and correct for historical inequalities.

Examples of specific measures may include: Gender-responsive recruitment and hiring processes; mentoring, training and leadership programmes; targets for women’s participation at senior levels; gender analysis and action in staff performance reviews and staff surveys; regular reviews of organisational efforts towards gender equality; reporting back to all staff.


61% (117/191) of organisations reviewed have publicly available workplace gender equality policies or plans which contain explicit targets, programmes or measures to achieve equality. This marks no change over 2020, which found that 60% (114/190) of organisations had such policies in place. 

The pace of progress previously recorded appears to have stalled. Whether this is a result of organisations not publishing internal plans or not developing them altogether is unclear. 

A slight increase, from 10% in 2020 to 17% in 2021, was measured in broad commitments to gender equality in the workplace. At the same time, some reversals in progress were found. Commitments to advancing gender equality in the workplace that were found last year for several organisations could not be located this year. In some cases, commitments made in previous annual reports to advance gender equality were not reinforced or reported on this year. 

Further, while a majority of organisations have gender equality measures in place, few policies and plans define the accountability structure to assign responsibility, clarify expectations, and measure progress towards realising gender equality across the workforce.

“I encourage people to be inspired by the data in the 2021 GH5050 Report, and to know that organisations do not have to wait until they have big plans and major resources to make progress. Many specific, incremental improvements will add up to meaningful change for your staff, board, partners, and ultimately, the field of global health.”

Traci L. Baird, CEO and President, EngenderHealth

Access the policies

To access all publicly available gender equality policies and plans reviewed this year, go to: