Former Gender Champions

The Gender Champion for Polio Eradication Initiative was launched in March 2020 to contribute to gender mainstreaming efforts in the Polio Eradication Initiative. Gender Champions commit to the GPEI Gender Equality Strategy and support its full implementation through two annual concrete commitments. Being a Gender Champion provides opportunities to engage with Member States (politically, financially and technically) to amplify their contribution to polio eradication and concurrently support mutual objectives around gender mainstreaming. Being a Gender Champion for Polio Eradication is connected  to the Champion’s role at the moment of his/her commitment.

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is grateful to these former Gender Champions for their invaluable contribution to highlight the pivotal role of gender in polio eradication.

“The road to gender equality is a long and winding one, but we can design faster and more effective ways to travel it together. If we are to achieve Global Goals for development and eliminate extreme poverty we must tackle inequalities, especially those affecting women. Gender equality is vital to achieving more effective and sustainable results in polio eradication.”

I support the GPEI Gender Equality Strategy 2019-2023 as a concrete effort to highlight the role of gender in polio eradication.

I commit to:

• Participate in at least two gender equality events every year until 2023 in Spain and/or abroad, raising awareness of gender barriers in health delivery, including immunization and polio programs
•  Actively promote and give visibility to the GPEI Gender Equality Strategy through social media

Arancha González Laya, Former Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation of Spain


“The UK envisions a world safe and secure from global health threats posed by infectious diseases, but until every strain of polio is eradicated worldwide, no child is safe. The UK is at the forefront to support countries to deliver routine immunization and reach underserved zero-dose children. I am proud of the role UK aid plays, supporting over 450 million polio vaccinations a year.

Women are absolutely critical to the success of the polio programme; polio eradication will not be achieved unless we redouble our efforts to ensure women’s participation is maximized and that the polio programme connects with women in polio-affected communities. Beyond polio, this has the potential to provide women with greater social and economic opportunities. We need actions not just words, and I pledge to use my role to ensure that together we tackle gender-related barriers.  Investing in disaggregating and analysing data by gender will be key, as will be ensuring close attention is paid to the protection and empowerment of frontline polio workers.”

I support the GPEI Gender Equality Strategy as a concrete effort to highlight the role of gender in polio eradication.

I commit to:

  • Use social media channels to raise awareness of the role of women in the fight against polio
  • Hold an annual FCDO event to celebrate women in the frontline of tackling polio.

Wendy Morton, Former Minister of European Neighbourhood and the Americas, Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), UK 

Other Former Champions