· Elections, Women's Movements & Health · Women Leadership– How Do We Lead? · GHV Cholera Case Study · Where in the World is GHV?
Elections, Women's Movements & Health By Savannah Russo
We Support Women’s Movements – and We Support Access to Health for All
With movements such as #MeToo and activations like the Women’s March front and center, we are seeing the political landscape of our country shifting in reaction to the current administration’s regressive politics and rhetoric. Women are standing up and speaking out more than ever, using their voices to demand equality. With the midterm elections just around the corner, many have projected that women and young people, and more specifically people of color, will be key driving forces in shaping the political landscape to come. With so much at stake, it is critical that voters understand the connection between their vote and the impacts it has on health and development for so many people around the world.
U.S policies have a direct impact on access to healthcare both domestically and globally, often leaving women the most affected. For example, the reinstated and expanded Global Gage Rule (GGR) - issued by the Trump Administration in January 2017 - forces NGOs abroad to choose between providing lifesaving sexual and reproductive healthcare or receiving U.S. assistance.[i] And while the full spectrum of devastating ripple effects will not be fully known for years to come, organizations, patients, and health workers are already feeling the harmful ramifications.[ii]
In Uganda, for example, a booming and rapidly growing young population has increased stress on the already overburdened health system. The United States has historically been the largest provider of assistance related to health in Uganda. However, as a result of restrictions imposed by the GGR, already stretched services have been further diminished, the strain on health supplies amplified, and advocacy around safe abortion services reduced. Ultimately, these restrictions are lessening access to and quality of the already under-resourced family planning and reproductive health services that are so vital to supporting the health and wellbeing of girls and women across the country.[iii][iv]
At GHV, we are proud to work in collaboration with many organizations to ensure that access to quality healthcare and sexual and reproductive health services are upheld and valued around the world. GHV, as an independent woman-owned and operated business, also understands how important it is to be politically vocal about the ripple effects of U.S. policies, as they relate to global health and development, across our various channels and networks. We believe that through movement building, advocacy, and action we can create lasting change, not only for women, but for all.
On November 6, 2018, over four hundred congressional seats are up for election, many of them being sought by a number of women changemakers.[v]We believe that now is the time for women leadership, equality in representation, and a realization that women’s voices should be the ones dictating the policies that impact their health.
We are living in a time of uncertainty – a time when the future of our country, our planet, and our world seems more tenuous than ever. Change is happening radically, in so many spaces, across so many issues, forcing us to think outside of the box. This is a unique opportunity to reflect on the important and vital roles women play in our changing world as political figures, influencers, game changers – and as leaders.
But as women, what does it mean to lead in a male-dominated world? And how do we, as women, do things differently?Male leadership structures and approaches are often the standard by which women leaders are being measured, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they are the right, best, or most effective ways to lead into the future. Even in global health, a progressive space, we still conform and maintain the status quo in terms of what it means to lead. Why is this?
Did you know that women make up the bulk of the global health workforce but are drastically underrepresented at leadership and decision-making levels?[i] In 2015 at the World Health Assembly only about 1 in 4 of the Chief Delegates were women[ii][iii]- a shocking reality that is, sadly, the norm for many sectors. In fact, in the 2017 World Economic Forum Gender Gap Report, a study of 12 industries outside of the health sector, showed that female leadership ranked below the 50% mark in all of them.[iv]
As a female president and founder of a thriving business, I strive to define my own success by my willingness to take risks, and forge new and different approaches to strategic development, which often break the societally-enforced status quo of what leadership should look like. I push myself to determine how I, as a woman, want to lead. At Global Health Visions, my team and I are committed to advancing a new approach to leadership. Our company is flourishing and growing because of a few unique tenants that are not part of the leadership status quo. Here are a few of these:
We practice collaborative leadership: This model recognizes that companies and organizations flourish with a strong leader but that the strongest leaders are willing and excited to work collaboratively with their teams and support staff members to become leaders themselves, all the while capitalizing on each individual’s unique skill sets. After all, we are in this together, and GHV is stronger when we use our collective brain power to effect change.
We pride ourselves on being transparent: We work together, sharing successes, failures, and potential threats to our organization. In this way, everyone has their eyes wide open and feels a sense of ownership for GHV.
We live out the values: We don’t just tout our values and the values of global health broadly. GHV is set up so that we can live them and practice them in a supportive work environment.
We value work-life balance: By allowing our team to work remotely, we have disrupted the standard 9-5 office model, giving our team the flexibility to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
We know that women are capable, powerful, smart individuals and now is the time to redefine how we want to lead, promote and support women in leadership, and redefine what it means to be an effective leader. My hope for the future is that we can create a world where gender equality is visible in the highest places of leadership. I want to challenge both men and women to stand up and speak out to make it clear that traditional male leadership norms are not the only ways to achieve success. Powerful female leadership can drive progress and promote positive, effective change – a transformation the world so desperately needs right now.
GHV Cholera Case Study By Kristen Cox Mehling
Cholera is a disease that sickens and kills the world’s poorest people. It is highly stigmatized, as declaring an outbreak can threaten countries’ export and tourism industries. Thus, cholera is as much a political problem as it is a health problem. Though all the technologies we need to end cholera are available today—including the oral cholera vaccine, and safe, water, sanitation and hygiene—cholera control had long been reactive. Countries would chase after outbreaks without a strategy or political will to permanently cut cases and deaths.
The Gates Foundation and their grantee, the Global Task Force on Cholera Control (GTFCC)—part of the cholera team at WHO, decided to change that—and enlisted GHV’s support. The GTFCC and partners developed a bold new strategy (“Ending Cholera: A Roadmap to 2030”) that calls for a proactive multi-sectoral approach to cholera control, targeting a 90% reduction in cholera deaths worldwide, and the elimination of cholera from 20 of the 47 endemic countries. GHV supported the GTFCC in the drafting, editing, and visual presentation of the strategy, and in developing a Theory of Change and a Results Framework to concretely assess partners’ achievements under the Roadmap.
For a strategy launch event in October 2017, GHV provided support in event planning and management, visual and presentation support, and traditional and social media communications. GHV also supported the GTFCC in drafting a declaration signed by 35 leading global health organizations, committing financial and human resources to the Roadmap.
In May 2018, Zambia and Haiti introduced a resolution on cholera to the World Health Assembly (WHA). In support of this bold leadership, the GTFCC and key partners, including The Gates Foundation and WaterAid, held a WHA side event, again with event production, presentation and communications support by GHV. GHV also scripted, developed, and produced a short film that was screened at the meeting. The event included high-level representatives from countries, donors, and partners, including WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
GHV has been fortunate to work with the GTFCC – a highly energized group of partners led by a dynamic secretariat – in jointly creating and executing an advocacy strategy that embraces innovative advocacy and communications strategies, and tactics to address a problem once seen as intractable.
This month, the GTFCC and partners celebrate one year since the launch of the Global Roadmap. Congratulations to countries and partners for their outstanding success in the first year of implementation!
*On November 3-4 2018, the Global Financing Facility (GFF) Civil Society Coordinating Group will convene a two-day workshop in Oslo, Norway to bring together civil society organizations (CSOs) working on the GFF at global and country levels. This workshop will build upon three previous annual civil society workshops, held in the lead up to the fall GFF Investors Group meetings. It will also provide a critical forum for learning among civil society from GFF focus countries. The workshop will leverage the opportunity to connect and align with the Development Financing Conference on November 5th, and the GFF replenishment event on November 6th, also to be held in Oslo.
The workshop will bring together CSO representatives from 23 GFF countries, on both the global and regional level.Susannah Hurd, GHV's Vice President, who is serving as the Interim Coordinator for the Global Civil Society Coordinating Group for the GFF hosted by PMNCH, will facilitate the workshop.
*The 4th Partners Forum, convened by the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH) and the Government of India in New Delhi on 12-13 December 2018, will focus specifically on multisectoral partnerships, and best practices and solutions at the country-level. It will highlight the importance of people-centered accountability, while focusing in on lived realities through the voices of women, children, and adolescents. Susannah Hurd, GHV's Vice President, and Aubrey Cody, GHV's Director, will be in attendance.
*The 5th International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP) will take place in Kigali, Rwanda, from November 12 to 15, 2018and will bring together the global family planning community as a means of sharing ideas, insights, and best practices to map the way forward. Susan Fox, GHV's Senior Associate, will be in attendance to support the work of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Is your organization attending? Do you need support to plan a meeting, side event, report launch or another exciting opportunity? If so, GHV is ready to put our event production expertise to use for you. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
References Elections, Women's Movements & Health:
[i] “Understanding Trump’s Global Gag Rule.” PAI – Understanding the Policy, trumpglobalgagrule.pai.org/understanding-the-policy/.
[ii] “REPORTING ON THE GLOBAL GAG RULE.” PAI, 28 June 2018, pai.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Reporting-on-the-global-GAG-rule-Brief-print-and-web.pdf.
[iii] Vernaelde, Jamie. “How Trump's Global Gag Rule Disproportionately Risks the Health of Girl Refugees in Uganda.” PAI, 11 Oct. 2017, pai.org/blog/trumps-global-gag-rule-disproportionately-risks-health-girl-refugees-uganda/.
[iv] "ACCESS DENIED: UGANDA PRELIMINARY IMPACTS OF TRUMP’S EXPANDED GLOBAL GAG RULE." Champion of Global Reproductive Rights, Pai.org. Mar. 2018, file:///C:/Users/russo/AppData/Local/Microsoft/Windows/INetCache/Content.Outlook/4674EP6L/Access-Denied_Uganda_March-2018.pdf.
[v] Dittmar, Kelly. “Women Candidates in Election 2018.” Rutgers Center for American Women and Politics, 20 Nov. 2017, cawp.rutgers.edu/sites/default/files/resources/a_closer_look_2018_outlook_final.pdf.
Women Leadership-How Do we Lead?
[i] “Women Leaders in Global Health Initiative (WLGHI).” Global Health Council. globalhealth.org/about-us/wlghi/.
[ii] "Act now: a call to action for gender equality in global health." Thelancet.com. 20 Jan, 2017, http://www.thelancet.com/pb/assets/raw/Lancet/pdfs/S0140673617301435.pdf.
[iii] "Call to Action To the Members of the WHO Executive Board and Governing Bodies." Women in Global Health, 2018. https://www.womeningh.org/call-to-action.
[iv]The Global Gender Gap Report 2017. World Economic Forum, 2017, http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GGGR_2017.pdf.