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More Female Leaders in Eye Care can Lessen Inequality: Fred Hollows Foundation

According to new study from The Fred Hollows Foundation, the global health sector will continue to suffer unless action is made to hasten the transition to equal representation of women in top leadership roles.

At the Women provide 2023 conference in Kigali, Rwanda, the Australian-registered organisation issued the research titled “Women deliver eye health: Let’s reframe who leads it.” The foundation’s own premise regarding the possibility for parity for women in leadership roles and what this would unlock for eye health services and results have been examined and evaluated through this initiative.

The World Health Organisation data, which showed that women made up 70% of the global healthcare workforce but held fewer than 25% of the most important leadership roles, highlighted the need for immediate action, according to the foundation’s executive director for global advocacy, Ms. Jennifer Gersbeck.

“It’s clear that women are being excluded from leadership positions in global health – having more women in positions of power will generate better public health outcomes for women and girls,” she said.

According to the Fred Hollows analysis, closing the gender gap in the workforce and in leadership positions could increase global output by an estimated US$12 trillion (AU$18 t) by 2025.

Less investment in women’s mentoring, sexual harassment and bullying in the workplace, the perpetuation of gender norms and stereotypes, the gender wage gap, and discrimination are some of the major obstacles that need to be overcome.

Global health is losing out on the talent, skills and perspectives of women,” Gersbeck said.

“If these barriers are removed, women leaders can significantly expand the global health agenda and give greater priority to issues that affect women and girls. Enabling equal representation supports diverse decision-making and services that better reflect the needs of the entire population.”

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