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Global Health: A Gender Reality Check

14 Oct 2016 - Women’s leadership in global health is first and foremost an issue of women’s general leadership opportunities in the labour market. What can be done to encourage and facilitate women leadership, including in health? asked Norway’s Permanent Representative, Ambassador Hans Brattskar at the public event “A gender reality check in global health”, organized by the Global Health Centre at the Graduate Institute & Women in Global Health.

The public event featured panellists debating what is needed to increase the number of women assuming leadership positions in global health and in the UN landscape in general. Central in Ambassador Brattskar’s address was the argument that in order to achieve a higher number of women leaders, including in global health, we need to see a work life that facilitates women having leadership positions, as well as being family care providers.

Referring to measures that have been successfully adopted in Norway, Ambassador Brattskar pointed out that “Domestically, we have for many years invested in the availability of kindergartens, including at subsidized prices, flexibility regarding work hours, the right to paid leave when the child is ill, universal welfare schemes, such as an extensive parental leave scheme (from 18 weeks in 1977 to 49 weeks with full pay today), including rights for both mother and father.” He also underlined that Norwegian policies includes a strong focus on the role of the fathers, and the importance of strengthening this for the benefit of the entire family.

The public event provided an opportunity to take stock of the Geneva Gender Champions initiative ( including the pledges made by the Nordic countries in Geneva to strive for a balance of work and family life for both women and men.  On this note, Ambassador Brattskar pointed out that “A culture for working effectively while at work, but not being required to regularly work late” is one concrete measure that should be observed.

Read more about the event here.