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.