October 31, 2020

I, Science

The science magazine of Imperial College

International Women’s Day special: COVID-19 death rate is lower for women and children; 70% of global health leaders are men; and there are no countries with gender equality.

Welcome to your International Women’s Day I, Science News Round Up special! Yesterday, 6 March, was International Women’s Day, so this week we’re focusing on women-related news. It’s found that women and children are less likely to die from COVID-19; 70% of global health leaders are men; and there are no countries in the world with gender equality. Happy reading!

Women and children are less likely to die from COVID-19

Early research suggests women and children are less likely to die than men if they catch the coronavirus, even though roughly even numbers of men and women catch the disease.

The death rate among the men was 2.8 per cent in the Chinese sample – 44,672 infected people from late 2019, when the virus first emerged, to 11 February 2020. This is compared to just 1.7 per cent for the women.

Children are even less likely to succumb to the virus: no one under the age of 10 in the sample died, while just 0.2 per cent of those between 10 and 40 died.

For comparison, the average death rate from everyone in the study was 2.4%.

Study finds that 70% of global health leaders are men

According to new research,70% of global health leaders are privileged men based in Europe and the US, despite women making up 70% of workers in the global health sector – and only 5% of leadership positions are occupied by women from low- and middle-income countries.

The Global Health 50/50 report, published by UCL’s Institute of Global Health, warns it could take 54 years for the world’s major health organisations to have equality in their leadership.

85% of global health organisations have their headquarters in rich countries, stemming from the fact that the current global health system has its roots in colonial-era structures that were often focused on specific diseases and preventing their spread to Europe, as opposed to dealing with the structural issues that lead to disease.

There are no countries in the world with gender equality

A new UN report has found at least 9 in 10 people hold some sort of bias against females.

The “Gender Social Norms” index analysed biases in areas such as politics and education in 75 countries.

Globally, close to 50% of men said they had more right to a job than women. Almost a third of respondents thought it was acceptable for men to hit their partners.

The study concluded that there are no countries in the world with gender equality.

Zimbabwe had the highest amount of bias with only 0.27% of people reporting no gender bias at all. At the other end of the scale was Andorra where 72% of people reported no bias.

This week’s news was written by Harry Jenkins, who is studying for an MSc in Science Communication at Imperial College London.