WHO calls for strengthening women’s leadership

The World Health Organization (WHO) called for strengthening women’s leadership for an equal future in a post-coronavirus pandemic world.

Marking International Women’s Day and echoing this year’s theme, “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a Covid-19 world”, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press briefing on Monday that progress on gender equality has regressed during the days of the pandemic, reports Xinhua news agency.

“We have seen appalling increases in violence against women and reduced access to services for sexual and reproductive health. In relative terms, employment losses have been higher for women than for men.

“Women have also borne an additional and disproportionate burden of care for children and older people, and in social and health care,” he said.

According to WHO’s records, however, women accounted for almost seven out of 10 reported health worker infections, reflecting the fact that women make up roughly 70 per cent of the global health workforce.

To further advance gender equality, the WHO in February launched the Gender Equal Health and Care Workforce Initiative to increase the proportion of women in health and care leadership, to promote equal pay and to ensure safe and decent working conditions for women health and care workers.

To mark the International Women’s Day, Tedros announced on Monday that the WHO is launching a new Global Breast Cancer Initiative, to reduce mortality from breast cancer by 2.5 per cent every year until 2040, saving 2.5 million lives.

WHO statistics showed that breast cancer has now overtaken lung cancer as the world’s most-diagnosed cancer.

Its five-year survival rate after diagnosis now exceeds 80 per cent in most high-income countries, but the rate is much lower in lower-income countries.