Intersectionality and global health leadership: Parity is not enough

Zahra Zeinali, Kui Muraya, Veloshnee Govender, Sassy Molyneux, Rosemary Morgan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


There has been a welcome emphasis on gender issues in global health in recent years in the discourse around human resources for health. Although it is estimated that up to 75% of health workers are female (World Health Organization, Global strategy on human resources for health: Workforce 2030, 2016), this gender ratio is not reflected in the top levels of leadership in international or national health systems and global health organizations (Global Health 50/50, The Global Health 50/50 report: how gender responsive are the world's leading global health organizations, 2018; Clark, Lancet, 391:918-20, 2018). This imbalance has led to a deeper exploration of the role of women in leadership and the barriers they face through initiatives such as the WHO Global Strategy on Human Resources for Health: Workforce 2030, the UN High Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth, the Global Health 50/50 Reports, Women in Global Health, and #LancetWomen. These movements focus on advocating for increasing women's participation in leadership. While efforts to reduce gender imbalance in global health leadership are critical and gaining momentum, it is imperative that we look beyond parity and recognize that women are a heterogeneous group and that the privileges and disadvantages that hinder and enable women's career progression cannot be reduced to a shared universal experience, explained only by gender. Hence, we must take into account the ways in which gender intersects with other social identities and stratifiers to create unique experiences of marginalization and disadvantage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number29
JournalHuman resources for health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 27 2019


  • Gender
  • Global health
  • Health systems
  • Health workforce
  • Intersectionality
  • Leadership

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Administration
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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