The future of global health is female

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This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Angelo Moreno is a 20-year-old medical student from Ecuador. He studies at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito. He is affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writers and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

One week ago, during a walk with my sister, she told me: I will never be able to do the things that you have achieved. When I asked her why? She answered me: Because, I am woman.

During the last century, the humankind have been experiencing the most resilient and less violent revolution on our entire history. The feminist revolution. By the early 20th century women started to obtain voting rights, one hundred years later, they are occuping high positions of power worldwide.

However, we are taking slow steps to achieve equality in policy and decision making in the globe. According to UN Women, globally, only 24.9% of parliamentary seats, 36.3% of elected officials in local bodies and 21.3% of minister positions are occupied by women.

The consequences are less inclusive policies and the exclusion of women in the decision processes of states and government agencies.

Last year, a coronavirus showed us some examples of the necessary role of women in leadership. COVID-19 pandemic brought us a new economic and health challenge. The World Bank estimated a global economy contraction of -6.9% for the year 2020. However, there were countries and cities that managed the pandemic accurately and efficiently. If we look the worldwide examples of responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will find amazing results from New Zealand, Taiwan and Finland. What do they have in common? The three nations are leadered by women. They were not the only ones. Some countries like Canada and India have women in high decision-making positions in health issues. Despite this examples, only 24.3% of the health ministers of the world are women.

How important is the role of women in the health workforce? We will face a global shortfall of almost 18 million health workers by 2030. Women form 70% of workers in the health and social sector. However, women do not achieve promotions to leadership positions at the same rate as their male peers. When we review the comparison of salaries between men and women, there is a 28% gap. It is urgent to create spaces for women equality in the agenda of every country, especially in health decisions.

It is unacceptable that in the 21st century, our society has excluded their half. However, the feminist revolution is taking huge steps. We are understanding the impact of the inclusive and empathetic role of female leaders. We saw how the countries leadered by women took advantage of the worst economic and health crisis of our history.

Now we understand that the future is female, especially in global health.

About the author

Angelo Moreno is a 20-year-old medical student from Ecuador. He studies at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito. Currently, he is the Membership Development Assistant in the IFMSA and a member of the Supervising Council in AEMPPI Ecuador. He is constantly working in global health campaigns and advocating for universal access to education and healthcare. He has a background in several NGOs and youth movements. In addition, he is creating an NGO focused on sustainability and ensuring access to education for children.

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