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Annual Politics of Global Challenges Lecture: Gender Fail During Global Health Emergencies: WHO Runs the World?’

CGD Annual Lectures
Wednesday 28 October 2020, 12-1.30

POLIS presents the Politics of Global Challenges Annual Lecture - ‘Gender Fail During Global Health Emergencies: WHO Runs the World?’

About this Event

This year, the Centre for Global Security Challenges and Centre for Global Development at the University of Leeds are launching the School of Politics and International Studies (POLIS) 'Politics of Global Challenges Annual Lecture'. We welcome two experts working on gender and global health and who have published important insights into the gendered nature of the COVID-19 pandemic: Professor Sara Davies (Griffith, Australia) and Dr Clare Wenham (LSE, UK).

Gender Fail During Global Health Emergencies: WHO Runs the World?’

Abstract: During any kind of emergency neglect of gender experiences and needs can compromise the outbreak response. The Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the Zika outbreak in Latin America had gendered effects that were evident during the crises, yet governments and international organisations failed to prioritise gender inclusive responses. There is the same risk of neglecting gender inclusive responses and knowledge during the Covid-19 pandemic. In this talk we examine the consequence of gender exclusion in health emergency response. Where can we locate institutional responsibility to take gender seriously to inform and improve sustainable disease control? The institutional responsibility to recognise gender within the global health emergency regime lies with the World Health Organization (WHO). WHO is in a position to support gender inclusion practices but it requires the technical agency to recognise the value of gender inclusion framework to inform outbreak response, financial models, and recovery.


Professor Sara Davies (School of Government and International Relations, Griffith University, Australia)

Sara works on global health governance, health diplomacy and the women, peace and security agenda. She is author of Containing Contagion: Politics of Disease Surveillance in Southeast Asia (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2019) and Global Politics of Health (Polity, 2010). She is co-author of The Oxford Handbook of Women, Peace, and Security (Polity, 2018) with Jacqui True and Disease Diplomacy (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015) with Adam Kamradt-Scott and Simon Rushton .

Dr Clare Wenham (Department of Health Policy, LSE)

Clare works on global health security, global health governance and global disease control. Clare is currently co-PI on two major projects analysing how women are most at risk of COVID-19 and/or the socio-economic effects produced by government response efforts.