ISLAMABAD: The National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) has issued a global call to women all over the world to support the candidacy of Dr Sania Nishtar of Pakistan for Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO).
More than 350 women and global health advocates from more than 40 countries have already signed the declaration of support for her.
“After the election of the UN Secretary-General and other senior positions going to men, women and health advocates around the world are eager to see the world’s leading health organization led by an extremely qualified woman,” said HE Khawar Mumtaz, Chairperson of the NCSW.
With the election being held on 23 May in Geneva, Dr. Nishtar’s campaign appears to be picking up momentum at exactly the right time.
A 2016 Credit Suisse Research Institute analysis of over 3,000 companies revealed that a global average of just 13.8% of senior management positions (defined as CEO or reporting to the CEO) were occupied by women.
Within the UN system, only 23% of programmes, funds, specialized agencies or other entities are currently led by women.
“Sania has a vision and a bold voice. The combination of her experience both globally as well as on the front lines in the health sector make her a formidable contender for the director general position at WHO.
“But more than that, Sania’s selection to the top will signify that capable women can and will change the way the world operates,” said Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, a Pakistani journalist, activist and Oscar-winning filmmaker.
The declaration also reflects the support of a diverse group of global health leaders from every region of the world who work on pandemic preparedness, infectious diseases, health systems and no communicable diseases, as well as global health advocates, who have united behind Dr Sania Nishtar’s candidacy.
“Sania has been a champion for women. Like the many women who have signed onto this declaration, I know that Sania will transform women’s health through the advocacy and reforms that she’ll implement as Director General of the WHO,” said Dr Musumbi Kanyoro, President and CEO of the Global Fund for Women.
As the country’s first female cardiologist and a federal minister who enacted unprecedented reforms, Dr Nishtar improved the capacity of Pakistan’s health system to deliver for women and girls.
In her role as founding chair of the Independent Accountability Panel of the United Nations for the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s health, she worked to ensure that a key global women’s health initiative would be transparently implemented and hold global health leaders and actors accountable.