Time for gender-transformative change in the health workforce

Elsevier, The Lancet, Volume 393, Issue 10171, 9–15 February 2019, Pages 25-26.
Authors: 
Myra Betron, Ivy Bourgeaul, Meh Manzoor, Ema Paulino et al.

Underinvestment in the health workforce undermines the prospects of achieving health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A shortfall of almost 18 million health workers is projected by 2030. Investments in female health workers are the answer to reversing these trends. Stagnating rates of women's labour participation are deplorable; however, the health and social sectors offer a solution, as women's participation in these sectors is higher than in any other sector. Women comprise 70% of health workers and contribute US$3 trillion annually to global health care, half of which is in the form of unpaid care work. Connecting the gender, health workforce, and decent work agendas is a win–win situation that could generate gender-transformative dividends across the SDGs. This change calls for a new narrative, one that rightfully recognises women in global health as the catalysts of change driving health for all.