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Doctoral student plays lead role in global gender equity report

March 21, 2019 9:30 AM

Mehr Manzoor stands in front of the United Nations Plaza. (Picture provided by Mehr Manzoor)

The Gender Equity Hub, part of the Global Health Workforce Network, has launched a ground-breaking report on gender equity in the global health workforce. Delivered by Women, Led by Men: A Gender and Equity Analysis of the Global Health and Social Workforce was co-authored by Mehr Manzoor, a Fulbright Scholar from Pakistan and PhD candidate in the Department of Health Policy and Management. The Gender Equity Hub is a collaboration of the World Health Organization (WHO) and Women in Global Health. Manzoor serves as research director for Women in Global Health.


“Coming from Pakistan, which is ranked 148 out of 149 countries on the World Economic Forum’s 2018 Global Gender Gap, I feel the need for doing things differently. I passionately advocate for gender equality and women’s leadership because voices from the Global South are often missing in global heath conferences, leadership positions, and decision making. We have long overlooked the gender inequities in our workplaces. It is time to change that,” says Manzoor, whose PhD research focuses on gender equality and women’s leadership in global health.  


The report synthesizes findings into four thematic areas: leadership, gender pay gap, occupational segregation, and decent work without discrimination, bias, and sexual harassment. 


Gender inequities are pervasive across industries and sectors, including global health. Despite comprising 70% of the health workforce and contributing an estimated $3 trillion to the global economy, at least half of women’s contributions in global health remain unpaid and women make up only 25% of the leadership positions. 


The report details how gender inequities, discrimination, and biases in the global health workplace are systemic and are widening. Many countries still lack laws on matters that underpin gender equality and dignity at work, such as sex discrimination, sexual harassment, equal pay, and social protection.


Manzoor points out that the Gender Equity Hub findings are alarming, but that they are a call for change. She says that improving inequities could have positive impacts on morale, absenteeism, attrition, and workforce imbalances. With growing demand for population health services, the need to create a more equitable health workforce is obvious, she declares. 

Manzoor was also recently included among the top 100 influencers on Gender Equality and Diversity published by Onalytica on International Women's Day.