The world’s largest forum for health research is set to unveil its first comprehensive list of women and girls for the first time in a bid to make women’s rights more visible.
The Global Health Forum will publish the latest figures on gender equality in 2020 on Friday.
Women’s rights activists and campaigners have been urging the world body to include more women on the agenda, including in health and health care.
In its report to the UN General Assembly, the forum called for “more attention on gender inequality, and to strengthen policies, programmes and programmes to support women”.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the UN Women have been working on gender-balanced agendas for decades, but women have largely been absent from the discussions.
In the first of two annual gender-based health conferences held in 2018, the WHO and UN Women jointly called for more women to be included on the agendas of their annual meetings.
The Global Summit on Women, launched in September 2018, has also called for a gender balance on the world stage.
But women have been a minority in WHO and the other global bodies, such as the UN Environment Programme and the World Health Assembly, that have focused on the health of women.
In 2019, the UN Health Council’s Women and Infant Health Task Force issued a report called “Women and the Future of Health”, which argued that the future of women’s reproductive health was in the balance.
But the agenda for the new Global Health Summit has been criticised for not including women on its agenda.
The WHO and other international health organisations have said they want to ensure that women are represented on the forums.
The UN Women’s Health Task force, for example, said last year that the forum should be open to women and their allies, but there was a lack of diversity among its members.
The forum has been called for by the UN secretary general, António Guterres, who said that women and women’s issues had “stagnated and stagnated” over the past 20 years.
“Women’s issues are often not on the same agenda as men’s issues,” he said at the time.
“The global health community must work together to address the issue of gender equality and to make progress towards achieving gender equality.”‘
The next step’In an interview with Al Jazeera, Dr Todras Astrid, a research fellow at the University of Sydney’s School of Health, said the agenda was the first step towards gender-sensitive health policy.
“Women and girls are more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS, so we have to think about how we can protect them from infection and prevent them from developing it,” she said.
“This is a real opportunity to make this a global health priority.”
Astrid said she was “encouraged” by the agenda and said that a “real commitment” was needed from all global health bodies.
“There needs to be a real commitment from all of these bodies, that they recognise that women have a real role to play in public health,” she added.
“It is a very, very ambitious agenda that we should be very proud of.”
Dr Todas Astride, a researcher at the UN Institute for Trade and Development, said that the WHO’s call for more inclusion in its agenda was “a good start”.
“We’re looking forward to seeing a report that includes women in all its sections and it will show the global health system is doing its best,” he told Al Jazeera.
“We should see a real push to create a global climate where women are at the heart of public health.”
“It’s really a great opportunity for women, for girls, and for everybody.”