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BMJ Glob Health ; 7(8)2022 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2001827


BACKGROUND: While an estimated 70%-75% of the health workforce are women, this is not reflected in the leadership roles of most health organisations-including global decision-making bodies such as the World Health Assembly (WHA). METHODS: We analysed gender representation in WHA delegations of Member States, Associate Members and Observers (country/territory), using data from 10 944 WHA delegations and 75 815 delegation members over 1948-2021. Delegates' information was extracted from WHO documentation. Likely gender was inferred based on prefixes, pronouns and other gendered language. A gender-to-name algorithm was used as a last resort (4.6%). Time series of 5-year rolling averages of the percentage of women across WHO region, income group and delegate roles are presented. We estimated (%) change ±SE of inferred women delegation members at the WHA per year, and estimated years±SE until gender parity from 2010 to 2019 across regions, income groups, delegate roles and countries. Correlations with these measures were assessed with countries' gender inequality index and two Worldwide Governance indicators. RESULTS: While upwards trends could be observed in the percentage of women delegates over the past 74 years, men remained over-represented in most WHA delegations. Over 1948-2021, 82.9% of delegations were composed of a majority of men, and no WHA had more than 30% of women Chief Delegates (ranging from 0% to 30%). Wide variation in trends over time could be observed across different geographical regions, income groups and countries. Some countries may take over 100 years to reach gender parity in their WHA delegations, if current estimated trends continue. CONCLUSION: Despite commitments to gender equality in leadership, women remain gravely under-represented in global health governance. An intersectional approach to representation in global health governance, which prioritises equity in participation beyond gender, can enable transformative policymaking that fosters transparent, accountable and just health systems.

Global Health , Leadership , Female , Health Workforce , Humans , Income , Male , Policy Making
BMJ Glob Health ; 6(1)2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1054669


BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on political leadership around the world. Differences in how leaders address the pandemic through public messages have practical implications for building trust and an effective response within a country. METHODS: We analysed the speeches made by 20 heads of government around the world (Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Finland, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, New Zealand, Niger, Norway, Russia, South Africa, Scotland, Sint Maarten, United Kingdom, United States and Taiwan) to highlight the differences between men and women leaders in discussing COVID-19. We used an inductive analytical approach, coding speeches for specific themes based on language and content. FINDINGS: Five primary themes emerged across a total of 122 speeches on COVID-19, made by heads of government: economics and financial relief, social welfare and vulnerable populations, nationalism, responsibility and paternalism, and emotional appeals. While all leaders described the economic impact of the pandemic, women spoke more frequently about the impact on the individual scale. Women leaders were also more often found describing a wider range of social welfare services, including: mental health, substance abuse and domestic violence. Both men and women from lower-resource settings described detailed financial relief and social welfare support that would impact the majority of their populations. While 17 of the 20 leaders used war metaphors to describe COVID-19 and the response, men largely used these with greater volume and frequency. CONCLUSION: While this analysis does not attempt to answer whether men or women are more effective leaders in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, it does provide insight into the rhetorical tools and types of language used by different leaders during a national and international crisis. This analysis provides additional evidence on the differences in political leaders' messages and priorities to inspire citizens' adhesion to the social contract in the adoption of response and recovery measures. However, it does not consider the influence of contexts, such as the public audience, on leaders' strategic communication approaches.

COVID-19 , Government , Health Communication , Leadership , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Female , Global Health , Humans , Male , Pandemics , Politics , SARS-CoV-2 , Sex Factors