Gender, equity and human rights

Gender, equity, human rights team newsletter 2017

December 2017

New from GER: Women on the Move, celebrating Human Rights Day & so much more

Dear friends and colleagues,

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The Gender, Equity and Human Rights (GER) team has so much news to share with you this month. In November, we launched the Women on the Move report to a packed house at the Global Health Centre at the Graduate Institute in Geneva, Switzerland. This groundbreaking new report sheds light on the health and lives of migrant women care workers and the families and households they leave behind.

Also in November, the WHO Regional Office for Africa organized a regional workshop to strengthen country capacities for mainstreaming of equity, gender, human rights and social determinants within national health programs. WHO headquarters hosted a 4-day workshop on the United Nations System-wide Action Plan on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-SWAP) and Expert Group Meeting on Gender Parity. Dr Tedros, WHO Director-General opened the meeting. In my welcoming address I invoked participants “to look beyond gender equality. It is more than reaching 50/50. Women from all walks of life must be empowered to defend their rights and tackle discrimination. That includes pay gaps, unpaid work and missed leadership opportunities. We must turn to each other for stories and tell our truths through collective experiences…. I do not think we can have gender parity if we do not have diversity. We (white) women must examine our privilege. As male privilege, it is hard for us to see. Unless we change institutions and structures creating white privilege, things will not change.”

Group picture of the workshop participants
Participants to the UN-SWAP workshop

I’m excited to have contributed a chapter, together with colleagues, on women’s contributions to sustainable development through their work in health to the new report Health Employment and Economic Growth.

Dr Tedros, WHO Director-General, opening the meeting
Dr Tedros, WHO Director-General, opening the meeting
WHO/Chris Black

We have also released new publications related to achieving the goal of #HealthForAll and leaving no one behind, including Beyond the barriers, a report framing evidence on health system strengthening to help migrants experiencing poverty and social exclusion overcome barriers to health care, and Towards universal coverage for preventive chemotherapy for Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), guidance to identify which subpopulations are being missed and why in access to treatment of NTDs.

Here at WHO Headquarters, we held a 2-day workshop for staff on incorporating equity, human rights, gender and other social determinants of health into evidence-based guidelines, including sessions on core concepts, analytical frameworks and evidence synthesis.

In December, we will be observing Universal Health Coverage Day (12 December) and International Migrants Day (18 December), during which WHO will renew its commitment to leave no one behind on the path towards good health. On Human Rights Day (10 December), we are highlighting WHO’s work across program areas to improve health through the advancement of human rights. Be sure to read WHO Director-General Dr Tedros' statement on Human Rights Day, as well as our feature story on WHO's work in advancing the right to health, and a blog entry published in BioMed Central on WHO's work in advancing global health through human rights.

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Next week will see the launch of the State of health inequality: Indonesia report, the first WHO report of its kind to provide a comprehensive assessment of the national state of health inequality in a Member State. We hope you continue to keep up with our work by visiting our website and following me on Twitter @VeronicaMagar.

Warm regards, Veronica

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