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Women bear 76% of unpaid healthcare burden, exposing gender inequalities in health – WHO

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Global mortality rate of children

Statistics reveal that women constitute 67% of the paid global health and care workforce, while also performing an estimated 76% of all unpaid care activities. 

This was revealed in a recent report published by the World Health Organization (WHO), titled “Fair share for health and care: gender and the undervaluation of health and care work which sheds light on the pervasive gender inequalities within the health and care sectors, with profound implications for women, health systems, and health outcomes. 

The report underscores how underinvestment in health systems perpetuates a cycle of unpaid health and care work, diminishing women’s participation in paid labor markets, impeding their economic empowerment, and hindering progress towards gender equality. 

Jim Campbell, WHO Director for Health Workforce, emphasized the urgent need for gender-equitable investments in health and care work to drive fairer and more inclusive economies.  

The report calls upon leaders, policymakers, and employers to prioritize investment in health and care, advocating for improved working conditions, gender-equitable labor force participation, equal pay for equal work, and the recognition and valuation of all forms of health and care work. 

Policy recommendations outlined in the report include measures to enhance working conditions, promote equitable labor force participation, address the gender gap in care, invest in public health systems, and ensure accurate measurement and valuation of health and care work. 

Investments in health and care systems not only advance progress towards UHC but also contribute to the redistribution of unpaid health and care work.  

By economically empowering women through paid employment in these sectors, health outcomes can be improved.  

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