Women make up 75% of the global paid health workforce, yet they regularly face challenges impacting their job performance, compensation and workforce advancement compared to male counterparts. These challenges include: gender discrimination resulting in unequal pay, treatment in the workplace, or advancement opportunities; violence and sexual harassment; restricted independence or mobility outside the home; and a burden of balancing pregnancy and family expectations with their job. Jhpiego works to overcome these barriers by empowering female health workers and students, fostering supportive working environments for women in the health workforce.
- Training clinical mentors on gender-sensitive teaching methods and approaches;
- Integrating gender and leadership sessions into pre-service training for health providers to empower them and help them to be more gender-sensitive to ; and
- Working with schools to create sexual harassment policies and pregnancy policies.
- In Ethiopia, Liberia and Tanzania, the Maternal and Child Survival Program (MCSP) trains clinical mentors on gender-responsive methods to improve the gender-sensitivity of teaching practices. Integrating gender and leadership sessions into pre-service training for health providers empowers them and helps them be more gender-sensitive to clients.
- Jhpiego is also working with schools to create sexual harassment policies and pregnancy protection policies. In Nigeria, MCSP trained over 30 core facilitators and 1,000 health providers on the Health Workers for Change approach, which uses participatory methods to help providers address the gender inequities, attitudes and barriers to delivering high-quality care. Participants created action plans to address gaps and challenges, and reported the following outcomes from this approach:
- Improved interpersonal communication, empathy with clients;
- Improved provider punctuality and commitment to work;
- Improved privacy during medical examinations and labor;
- Hiring of additional cleaning and security staff, adjusted duty rosters and accommodations for midwives to offer after-hour services; and
- Infrastructure improvements such as clear signage, fans for ventilation, handwashing stations and reconstructed and or new labor wards to allow for supportive companions to have space to attend their partner’s birth.
Case study of Jhpiego’s efforts in Ethiopia to empower female health science students under the Strengthening Human Resources for Health Program