2021 Global Health 50/50 Report

Gender equality: Flying blind in a time of crisis

Now in its 4th year, the Global Health 50/50 Report finds that action to dismantle gender inequality inside organisations and to apply a gender lens in health programmes remains scarce.

The COVID-19 pandemic has proven that gender matters - to career pathways, to people’s risk of disease and death, to shaping equitable, effective health policies. Yet the 2021 report reveals that the vast majority of activities to address the health impacts of COVID-19 ignored the role of gender. In a male-default world, the report finds that gender as a driver of everyone’s health, including that of men and boys, remains under-addressed. The result: gender-blind pandemic responses that are less effective than they should be, with grave consequences for the health of people everywhere.

Flying Blind also reports the appointment of yet another cohort of mostly male global health leaders, predominantly from high-income countries, with the mandate to exert influence over the health and wellbeing of people worldwide. Despite substantial rhetoric, the data reveals little progress towards gender equality and diversity in leadership across the health sector and no progress on closing the gender pay gap among UK organisations mandated to report on it.