SEEK participates in panel on gender equality and the global health workforce at World Health Summit

Monday, October 28th, 2019

SEEK’s Managing Director, Christina Schrade, participated in a panel titled ‘Gender Equality within the Global Health Workforce: Addressing Gender Equity to Strengthen Health for All' at the World Health Summit in Berlin on October 27, 2019.

The health sector is a major employer of women globally. But although women comprise around 70% of the global health workforce they are largely clustered into lower status, lower paid sectors and jobs, with men holding the majority of senior roles. A large percentage of female health workers in low and middle-income countries particularly, work on insecure terms and conditions, without a supportive legal and social protection framework. Against the background of a global shortage of 18 million health workers needed to reach Universal Health Coverage, addressing gender inequality in the health workforce will enable better use of talent and deployment of health workers, reduce attrition and generally strengthen health systems.

Hosted by the Women in Global Health network, the panel focused on two questions: 


  1. How strong are political commitments to address gender and equity in the health workforce?
  2. What will it take to get gender transformative policy change in the health workforce?

Using OECD data, SEEK was able to identify how much funding has gone to these areas. Key takeaways from our analysis include:

  • Within funding for the health workforce, funding for projects with gender as a principal goal has stagnated.
  • The most-funded area of the health workforce is health policy and administrative management — but a micro-level analysis of the OECD DAC project database reveals that only 10% projects in this category actually emphasize gender equality in the health workforce as a goal in their descriptions.
  • Better data is needed to fully assess how donors are funding the area.
  • Health advocates should continue advocating for donors to invest in systemic change.

For more information, please see the presentation slides available for download as a PDF at the top of this page.

SEEK would like to thank Women in Global Health and the World Health Summit for this exciting opportunity and looks forward to continuing the conversation on gender equality and the global health workforce.