Gender justice for planetary health

 Assessing the gender-responsiveness of 114 global organisations’ work to address the planetary health crisis

Image: Kabeh podo, Faiz Pujo Jatmiko, Indonesia (2023)

Dive into the critical intersection of gender justice and planetary health with our latest report. As Earth’s natural systems deteriorate, marginalised communities bear the brunt, often excluded from solutions. Our report delves into whether critical gender considerations shape global responses to planetary health crises.
Read the report

Why gender justice and planetary health? 

Daily, communities worldwide grapple with planetary health disasters—from East Africa’s famines to Europe’s wildfires. Gender differences expose women, men and gender diverse people to varying risks, from air pollution to violence. Marginalised groups, including LGBTQ+ communities, face compounded risks due to discrimination and socioeconomic factors, emphasising the need for an intersectional approach in addressing planetary health crises. Gender justice in planetary health means equal opportunities to shape policies and decisions affecting everyone’s lives.

What did we find?

Our analysis of 114 organisations reveals gaps in gender integration in planetary health efforts. While some recognise gender inequalities’ structural roots, many overlook gender entirely. Transformative gender justice demands inclusive leadership. While progress has been made in gender parity, disparities persist—particularly in representation from low- and middle-income countries. This report complements our annual Global Health 50/50 Report, highlighting organisations’ commitments to gender equality in global health.

Key findings:

  • 24% of non-profit organisations recognised structural causes of gender inequalities in their planetary health activities
  • 37% of organisations did not mention gender in their planetary health activities.
  • 38% of organisations focused solely on addressing the needs of women and girls.
  • None of the organisations specifically addressed the gender roles of men/boys.
  • 38% of CEOs in non-profit organisations were women.
  • 48% of board chairs and 50% of board members were women.
  • Inequalities were most evident in the representation of individuals from low- and middle-income countries on governing bodies.
  • Only 4.5% of board members were nationals of low-income countries, while high-income country nationals held 68% of board seats.
  • There was a lack of representation from Small Island Developing States and the 10 countries most affected by extreme weather events.

This analysis complements our annual Global Health 50/50 Report, Workplaces: worse for women, which tracks and publicises the policies and practices of nearly 200 organisations active in global health for their commitments to gender equality.

“With the adoption of the Gender Action Plan at COP25 in 2019, I and many others were hopeful that the movements for gender justice, climate change and planetary health could be united, yet as this groundbreaking report from Global Health 50/50 and the Sunway Centre for Planetary Health reveals, gender-transformative action remains remarkably absent from most planetary health efforts.”
Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, former Chief Scientist of the World Health Organization

Moving forward: From data to action

This first review of how organisations active in planetary health integrate a gender justice lens in their work finds evidence of good practice and progress towards gender parity. We advocate for a more transformative approach to planetary health with gender justice at its core. Only with a more holistic and transformative approach can we dismantle the inequitable systems of power and privilege that continue to characterise the global health sector. 

Image: The urban outing, Mithail Afrige Chowdhury, Bangladesh (2023)