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Scaling up gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls: SUN rises to the challenge

  |   SUN Country Network, SUN Lead Group and Secretariat

The Global Health 50/50 Report, now in its fourth year, reviews the gender-related policies and practices of 201 organisations aiming to promote health and/or influence global health policy. Following a few years as ‘high’ performers in this area, in 2021, the SUN Movement rises to the top five per cent of global organisations striving for better health for all.

Global Health 50/50 springs from a deep well of frustration that global organisations active in health continue to be afflicted by an insidious case of gender blindness. Sector-wide, we have failed to analyse or address the role that gender plays in the distribution of power and privilege, the gendered opportunities and expectations of career advancement, and the gender-driven empowerment of people to realise their right to enjoy the highest attainable standard of health and wellbeing.

SUN Movement

Scaling Up Nutrition has been recognised as a very high scoring organisation this year, which places it in the top 5% of Global Health 50/50’s sample of organisations.

Women and girls are disproportionately impacted by malnutrition and food insecurity – a problem magnified by COVID-19 – however, they also play a critical role in responding to the ensuing hunger pandemic. Yet in 2021, in a year where the role of inequalities in shaping wellbeing and ill-health has never been clearer, the Global Health 50/50 report, launched on International Women’s Day – 8 March – finds a stark absence of gender in the health-related COVID-19 responses of global health organisations.

Every year, Global Health 50/50 shines a light on whether and how organisations are playing their part to address two interlinked dimensions of inequality: inequality of opportunity in career pathways inside organisations and inequality in who benefits from the global health system. In 2021, the report, entitled Gender Equality: Flying blind in a time of crisis looks, in practice, how organisations are working to maintain their commitments to gender equality and social justice, particularly in this period of crisis, where inequalities have played a clear role in determining health and well-being.

Scaling up gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls has always been in the remit of the SUN Movement, and, in 2019, it launched a call to action – targeting all players in the Movement to play their part. Since then, much work has gone into ensuring that the SUN Strategy for its third phase (2021-2025) spells out its gender visions and ambitions, but also responsibilities, and moves from being gender responsive to being gender transformative.

Learn more about SUN and gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls here.

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