Health, May 24, 2022, 9:47 a.m.

Newly Launched Initiative Seeks to Boost Global Health by Unlocking Women Leaders in Healthcare


Andre Hoffmann, Co-Founder of civic and social organisation InTent and Vice-Chairman of Swiss pharmaceutical company Hoffmann-La Roche, joined senior healthcare executives, Eva McLellan and Kaye Vitug, to launch Unlocking Eve.

A new organisation that aims to bring more women into senior leadership positions in healthcare, at Unlocking Eve’s inaugural Roundtable Discussion at the SDG Tent in Davos on May 23.


Women currently account for 70 percent of the healthcare workforce, but only around 25 percent of leadership positions are held by women. Addressing this disparity will play an important role in helping countries around the world to successfully meet the United Nations’ Sustainable and Development Goals on health and wellbeing and gender equality by 2030.


“It is striking that the very people delivering healthcare have so little say when it comes to designing the systems in which they work. Our goal is to reset the conversation and to work with others to bring gender equity to healthcare. This is the key to transforming healthcare delivery and outcomes around the globe,” Unlocking Eve Co-Founder Eva McLellan said.


Eva and Kaye, who have held multiple roles in multiple countries in the pharmaceutical industry, decided to set up Unlocking Eve, which is supported by InTent, after witnessing the impact of female leadership during the pandemic.


“Throughout our careers, we have had the opportunity to work alongside some incredible female leaders so we know just how much teams can achieve when women are at the helm. There’s also a large body of evidence that shows greater gender diversity on the boards of companies can significantly boost performance, however it was the pandemic that demonstrated on a global scale just how effective female leaders are. Eva and I knew we couldn’t let this moment pass without acting on it,” Kaye Vitug said.


Countries with more representative political systems and those that had women in key leadership positions saved more lives, especially in the early stages of the pandemic. Data show that countries led by women had six times fewer deaths. [1]


“As we race to meet SDGs 3 and 5, we need to build on our learnings from the pandemic so that we create more balanced leadership models and representative systems. Unfortunately, gender imbalance means women remain an underutilised asset and it will stay this way until more women are in leadership positions,” Kaye says.


Unlocking Eve will partner with other organisations to create systems that are ready to rapidly respond to the healthcare needs of all by ensuring women are part of the decision-making process at all levels of the healthcare system.


“We have all seen what can be achieved when women are at the decision-making table. Now is the time to give the world the balance it needs. Get this right and people will become healthier, societies will become healthier, the world will become healthier, and we will all reap the benefits,” Eva said.