Video: Tedros on combatting sexual harassment at WHO

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There have been four cases of sexual harassment reported in the World Health Organization in 2016, according to an internal audit report presented to the World Health Assembly in May 2017.

At a time when the issue is gripping all industries, Devex asked Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus what steps he plans to take to combat sexual harassment at his organization.

“There should be zero tolerance to harassment, meaning that if anyone has that problem, then we need to take measures quickly,” he said.

And he sees that happening through the open door policy he has initiated, and which he has instructed his leadership team and directors to follow. He sees it as an opportunity to address the problem early on.

But he underlined prevention as a key part of the solution, by way of changing mindset and empowering women within the organization.

“That's why I'm very strong about gender parity. It's by design that we have more women at the leadership,” he said. “The only problem is the mindset we have, the male chauvinism that still exists. We have capable women, but we don't want to see them. We don't want to see that they exist. That's a mindset problem. But in WHO we have proven that if we open our eyes, there are capable women. That's where it starts to fight harassment.”

This is the second installment in a three-part series of our exclusive interview with the WHO director-general. Read part one and part three.

Read more Devex coverage on the World Health Organization.

About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.