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As part of the 2030 In Sight strategy, the global eye health sector has a unique opportunity to unite and speak with one voice, to strengthen gender equity in our organisations and programmes collectively.
In many countries, women do not get the same access to eye health services and assistive products as men.
All those who need eye care, can and should receive it. Of the 1.1 billion people with vision loss, 55% are women and most live in low and middle-income countries.
In industrialised countries, the reason more women have vision loss is largely because women live longer than men. However, in low and middle-income countries, where cataract and unaddressed refractive error are responsible for most blindness and vision impairment, it is often because women do not get to access services and assistive products with the same frequency as men.
Vision impairment and blindness have far-reaching implications, not just for the women affected, but also for their families and communities. For example, in some parts of the world, if girls are blind or have low vision, it is almost impossible for them to access education.
As a sector, we need to strengthen our commitment to gender equity and inclusion as directors, managers, employers and colleagues.
This is crucial to ensure that services are provided accessibly to women and girls to address the gender gap that exists. The way we operate and behave also contributes to inclusion more broadly.
The global eye health sector has a unique opportunity to unite and speak with one voice, to strengthen gender equity in our organisations and programmes collectively.
Gender equity is a key focus area for IAPB. As a sector, we need to strengthen our commitment to gender equity and inclusion, to ensure that services are provided accessibly to women and girls and address the gender gap. Our key priorities within gender equity are eye health outcomes for women and girls, closing the gender gap across the global eye health work force and leadership and driving an intersectional approach that considers all aspects of identity.