Kene Esom is a Policy Specialist with the United Nations Development Programme. His work focuses on enabling legal and policy environment for effective rights-based responses to health, and the intersection of law, human rights and gender. Prior to joining UNDP, Kene worked on various human rights and development issues including asylum and forced migration, sexual and gender-based violence and sexual orientation and gender identity. He is a Barrister-at-Law and holds a Master of Law [LL.M] in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa from the University of Pretoria and a certificate in Global Health Delivery from Harvard University.
Monday, 8 March 2021 Day 1
Breaking Barriers: Gender-inclusive health and leadership in Africa
Hosted by Amref Health Africa
Women’s health is vital to advance broader health and development goals across Africa, yet women themselves – especially African women – are underrepresented in leadership and decision-making across global and national health institutions, while women’s health is often deprioritized or underfunded compared to other health issues. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that gains made in women’s health are being threatened, especially when it comes to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH).
Taking place on International Women’s Day, this session will elevate the discourse on women in global health – focusing on both women as leaders and women as beneficiaries of health programs and funding. The session will provide a platform to highlight the vital role that women leaders have played in addressing health challenges, such as the COVID-19 pandemic – from policymaking and technical leadership to scientific research and development. It will also shine a spotlight on women’s involvement in health policies and decision-making (particularly for women’s health, SRHR and MNCH) as well as the gaps in women’s leadership and influence that must be addressed. Conversations will encourage greater collaboration and coordination among stakeholders around advancing a gender-equitable approach to Universal Health Coverage (UHC), and reiterate the need to prioritize funding, policies and programs that meet the health needs of women and girls, as part of countries’ UHC plans and investments.
The moderator will also engage the speakers to discuss the importance of dismantling barriers for young women leaders. Speakers will be asked to share personal experiences and insights of the barriers they faced (or continue to face) in their careers, how they have overcome gender barriers, why these challenges remain, and what women leaders and their allies can do to help change the playing field for the next generation of women leaders.