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Promoting Gender-Equity in the Health Workforce

Women make up 75% of the global paid health workforce, yet compared to their male counterparts, they regularly face challenges impacting their job performance, compensation, and career advancement. 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 the burden of balancing pregnancy and family expectations with their job.

MCSP worked to overcome these barriers by empowering female health workers and students, and fostering supportive working environments for women in the health workforce. Our approach included the following:

  • 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 clients; and
  • Working with schools to create sexual harassment policies and pregnancy policies.

Key Results

In Nigeria, MCSP trained more than 30 core facilitators and 1,000 health providers on the Health Workers for Change (HWFC) approach, which uses a participatory approach 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 HWFC:

  • Improved interpersonal communication, empathy with clients
  • Improved provider punctuality and commitment to work
  • Improved privacy during medical examinations and labor
  • Hired additional cleaning and security staff, adjusted duty rosters and provided accommodation to midwives to offer after-hour services
  • Infrastructure improvements: clear signage, fans for ventilation, handwashing stations, reconstructed and built new labor wards to allow for supportive companions to have space to attend their partner’s birth, etc.

In Liberia, MCSP trained 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 help them be more gender-sensitive to clients.

Maternal and Child Survival Program