GAVI Board achieves goal on gender

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With women representing 40 percent of the GAVI Board, GAVI sets the standard on gender policy in international organisations 

HRH Vietnam

Her Royal Highness the Infanta Cristina of Spain in a health clinic in Vietnam during the GAVI's Partners' Forum in 2009. Photo credit: GAVI/2009/Markus Steffen

Geneva, 13 April 2012 - The appointment of three women to the GAVI Alliance Board achieves a key target on gender, said GAVI’s Board Chair, Dagfinn Høybråten.

Her Royal Highness the Infanta Cristina of Spain, Dr Maria C. Freire, and Yifei Li take up their positions with immediate effect. These appointments result in 11 out of 26 Board members being women.

40 percent

GAVI’s Board achieved its target of at least 40 percent representation for both genders within two years of approving guidelines at its meeting in July 2010. At that time, only 10 % of Board members were women.

“We are very fortunate indeed to have attracted such outstanding new Board members. I am also delighted to have achieved a key target on gender balance so soon after adopting the guidelines,” said Mr Høybråten.

Few international organisations have imposed such rigorous standards voluntarily.

This new balance positions us as a leader on gender policy among international organisations.

Dagfinn Høybråten, Board Chair, GAVI Alliance

Leader on gender policy

“This new balance positions us as a leader on gender policy among international organisations. We make high-impact decisions that affect the lives of millions of women and children and it is critical that we as a Board are properly represented and have a diversity of viewpoints,” Mr Høybråten said.

Other bodies, including the GAVI Secretariat, also have policies to achieve diversity, including gender-balance.

Also, as part of its work on gender, a 2010 GAVI-commissioned review of 23 studies found no significant differences at the global level in immunisation coverage between girls and boys. However, both boys and girls are less likely to be immunised in societies where women have low status, are poor, and lack access to immunisation and other health services.

Her Royal Highness the Infanta Cristina of Spain, Dr Maria C. Freire, and Yifei Li

Her Royal Highness the Infanta Cristina is Director of International Programmes of “la Caixa” Foundation and has been a champion of the GAVI Alliance since 2005.

Dr Freire, who is from Peru, is President of the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation,and an internationally recognised expert in technology commercialisation.

Yifei Li is China Chair for Man Group, one of the world’s largest hedge funds. She has over 18 years of senior management experience, having successfully led the expansion of several multinational companies in China.

All three will serve as independent Board members. 

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