The World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, has called on countries in the region to do more to empower women.
“Together, we need to do more to empower women, include building skills beyond traditional training, addressing social norms, and helping the next generation of girls.
“Gender equality is a priority now, and for the health and well-being of future generations. Investments in equality will benefit us all – women, men, girls and boys,” she stressed in a message to mark the year 2020 International Women’s Day.
While reiterating her commitment to encourage women, she said: “In the spirit of this theme, today, I commit to supporting the next generation of female leaders in health in Africa.
“I am very happy to launch the Africa Young Women Champions Initiative in partnership with the UN Volunteers Programme.
“In the coming months we will recruit 100 national and international UN volunteers in the African Region, and we will be targeting young women from the global south to boost equity and empowerment.
“We will be looking for candidates to work in technical areas, such as family health, nutrition, disease prevention and control, information management and innovation, as well as communications, external relations, general management and administration.
“This Initiative comes at the right time for WHO in the African Region.
“We have committed to achieving gender parity among WHO staff, and although we are making progress, we still have work to do.
“Women now account for 33% of our workforce, up from 27% in 2015.
“We need more women to apply for jobs with WHO in the African Region – currently only one-quarter of our applicants are female.”
She, however, disclosed that within WHO is building the capacities of its female staff.