GH5050 summary findings on workplace gender policies

Organisations aren’t doing nearly enough to support gender equality in the workplace.


Within global health organisations, gender inequalities continue to define and drive career pathways and opportunities. Women’s under-representation in management and leadership positions often results from a lack of interventions to foster a supportive organisational culture for all staff and to support women’s career pathways, particularly at key transition points (e.g. at motherhood or times of other caring roles). This is often compounded by the lack of progressive social policies in society at large, such as paid parental leave, access to affordable child care and free education, and lack of male contribution to unpaid domestic and care work.

Increasing gender diversity across management and leadership leads to increased productivity, innovation and financial performance, and more women in power improves the working environment for all staff. Research has continually shown that companies with more women in management have fewer instances of sexual harassment.

Yet the number of organisations reviewed that have specific measures in place to achieve a gender-balanced workplace is surprisingly low.

So what do we do about it?

GH5050 recommendations

  • Organisations that have not done so should undertake assessments of whether and how gender equality is embedded in their institutions by, for example, using the International Gender Champions ‘How To’ Checklist.
  • Organisations should implement a range of interventions to address the complexity of gender-responsive organisational change, including:
    • Adopting clear policies to support staff in balancing personal, family and professional commitments such as flexible working arrangements and paid parental leave;
    • Implementing remuneration systems that ensure equal pay for equal work;
    • Rolling out systematic staff trainings, leadership and mentoring programmes and institutionalising space for dialogue, debate and learning on gender and gender equality in the workplace;
    • Including ‘gender competence’ in all job descriptions and performance monitoring systems to ensure accountability;
    • Demonstrating and implementing zero tolerance for sexual- and gender-based harassment.
  • Funders should define and attach gender diversity and gender workplace policy requirements to the funding eligibility of organisations.
  • Organisations should publish and act on their gender pay gaps, even in the absence of statutory requirements.