The health sector is a major employer of women in Liberia. However, here as in many other countries, a traditional division of roles still prevails. Far more men than women are employed in the ‘technical’ professions – medical practitioners and laboratory technicians, for example – that generally attract a higher salary. Women tend to work in the less well-paid fields of nursing and midwifery.
Liberia’s goal is to achieve a permanent improvement in health sector performance, including in rural areas. Enhancing the working conditions and training environment for women and providing appropriate incentives and career opportunities is an inherent part of this. On behalf of the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is supporting Liberia’s efforts.
Career advisory services encourage schoolgirls and young women to choose less traditional jobs and professions, and scholarships enable young women to begin apprenticeships, for example as laboratory technicians. Targeted leadership development measures and financial support for advanced studies assist women already working as health professionals in progressing to better paid management positions. These and other activities are directly benefiting around 1,800 women and girls.
Gender equality is an important part of GIZ’s work, not only in its projects worldwide, but also as a fundamental principle in the company’s own operations. This was borne out recently in a study published by the initiative Global Health 50/50. GIZ achieved one of the top rankings in the 2018 report, which undertook a comprehensive review of the gender-related policies of more than 140 organisations engaged in the health sector, including UN agencies, foundations and development agencies.