The World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH), a Qatar Foundation (QF) initiative, joined the pledge for gender equality in the health workforce at a virtual event hosted by the Government of France, World Health Organization (WHO) and Women in Global Health (WGH), titled Gender Equal Health and Workforce Initiative (GEHWI).

The event was attended by speakers and participants from various governments and major global organizations, including Sultana Afdhal, CEO of WISH, who made the pledge on behalf of QF's global health initiative.

As the first entity in the Middle East to commit to the pledge, WISH aims to increase the representation of women in leadership roles and promote the championing of their contributions within the healthcare sector.

Sultana Afdhal, CEO of WISH, said: "As an organization working in the field of global health, we are acutely aware of the vital role that women play across the healthcare workforce. Women make up more than 50 percent of frontline healthcare workers, so it's essential that they are better represented at the leadership level.

"Considerable effort still needs to be made to ensure that women are fully part of decision-making processes, and the Gender Equal Health and Care Workforce Initiative represents an important step on that journey."

For WISH and QF, this pledge builds upon a commitment made by HE Vice Chairperson and CEO of Qatar Foundation Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al-Thani, in 2019, where Her Excellency Sheikha Hind announced a pledge for women to make up at least half the panel speakers at conferences and events, locally and internationally.

WISH continues to make progress in this area and has over 50 percent female speaker representation at all events, with 75 percent women in its advisory board. Moving forward, WISH will continue to take concrete action with the support of Qatar Foundation to ensure that gender does not present a barrier to any person's development and that everyone is equally recognized.

The Gender Equal Health and Workforce Initiative aims to promote the implementation of several actions around four key priorities. These include increasing the proportion of women health and care workers in leadership roles, recognizing the value of unpaid health and care work and the importance of equal pay in the health and social care sectors, protecting women in health and care against sexual harassment and violence at work, and ensuring safe and decent working conditions for all health workers, everywhere. It was launched in February 2021 through a partnership between the Government of France, WHO and WGH.
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