Global Health 50/50 2019 Report Foreword
Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern
Prime Minister of New Zealand
Although the report holds up a mirror and reveals inequalities that must be addressed within the health sector, it also shows where we can quickly make progress. It’s this that gives me hope.
In 1893, New Zealand became the first country where women won the right to vote. Despite all our advances since then, the world still has a long way to go before we achieve true gender equality.
As this year’s Global Health 50/50 report on the state of gender equality in global health organisations shows, the health sector is not exempt. Whether it’s committing to gender equality or reporting on gender pay gaps, global health organisations are failing to walk the talk.
I was disappointed to read that just one in three organisations publish their sexual harassment policies online, and that only one in five referenced any support for returning parents. It’s also disappointing that only a third of organisations report flexible working policies.
We know that gender equality doesn’t just benefit individual women and their families – it also has a positive impact on our economy. Closing the gender gap in the workforce could add up to $28 trillion USD to annual global GDP by 2025.
But, of course, economic growth is not an end in itself. We need to work towards more inclusive and sustainable societies. That’s
why, here in New Zealand, we’ve decided to do things differently. Instead of focusing solely on GDP to measure our success, we’re looking at a wider picture, making sure we’re also tracking our progress on wellbeing and equality, alongside economic growth.
I believe that global health organisations can lead the way towards better wellbeing, by building fairer, more equal workplaces. After all, the global health sector stands for fairness and universality, and strives to ensure health for everyone, particularly the most marginalised people in society. If there is one sector that should set precedent in this space, it is global health.
Although the report holds up a mirror and reveals inequalities that must be addressed within the health sector, it also shows where we can quickly make progress. It’s this that gives me hope. If our leaders and our workforce come together and commit to change, I know that we can create kinder places for all of us to work.
I would like to thank Global Health 50/50 for their work in this space, and I look forward to seeing the progress we can make in the year ahead.