School of Population Health

New research published in Eye

Image eyes Yashadhana article published in Nature

New research published in Eye shows more action is needed to improve equity and diversity in global eye health leadership.
Four out of every five people with vision loss live in low- and middle-income countries, and within all countries, good vision and eye health are not experienced equally. Furthermore, women in low- and middle-income countries tend to have poorer access to eye care due to socially constructed gender norms, and in high-income countries, services are less accessible to ethnic-minority groups and Indigenous peoples. 
Lead author Dr Aryati Yashadhana from the School of Public Health and Community Medicine (SPHCM) says that quantifying and reporting inequalities in eye health leadership positions will help create change for those who are disproportionately affected by vision and impairment blindness.   
"Action is needed to promote and support the progression of women and people from ethnic-minority backgrounds to obtain eye health leadership positions" says Dr Yashadhana. 
"Increasing and sustaining this kind diversity is most likely if organisational efforts are embedded within a larger system — akin to what was reported in the Global Health 5050 report — that supports and monitors progress towards diversity goals," she says. 
The new research, which will contribute to the Lancet Global Health Commission on Global Eye Health, was based upon data collected on the gender and ethnicity of those in senior management, board and chair positions from 119 member organisations of the International Association for the Prevention of Blindness, the overarching alliance for the global eye care sector.

The findings show that fewer than one in five chairs and one in three board positions are held by women; compared with board and chair positions, women are more commonly found among senior management teams and CEOs, but still not close to parity; Ethnic-minority women are the group holding fewest leadership positions, highlighting the need for structural change that addresses career discrimination at the intersection of gender and race.
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Dr Aryati Yashadhana