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Stanford University School of Medicine

Gender parity in global health events: A conversation

In honor of International Women’s Day, the Stanford Center for Innovation in Global Health teamed up with partners at Women in Global Health and the Global Health Council to call attention to the great underrepresentation of women in global health conferences and events. Leaders from these and other organizations held a live webinar and Twitter chat on the topic on Monday.

“I feel it's incredibly important that we celebrate and acknowledge the achievements of great women doing global health and that we continue to foster opportunities for the up-and-coming women in the pipeline. That starts with visibility...” said Michele Barry, MD, director of the Stanford Center for Innovation in Global Health and moderator of the panel discussion.

Barry said it was this reason that she decided to organize a Women Leaders in Global Health conference at Stanford Medicine, which is dedicated to highlighting emerging and established women leaders and empowering the next generation. The inaugural conference will be held in October and will offer skills building and mentorship opportunities to cultivate future leaders and builds on the growing momentum to achieve gender equality in global health. (Registration opens the first week of April.)

During the 55-minute discussion, Barry and the other participants also talked about the challenges in achieving gender parity, offered learnings from their organizations and presented new ideas for advancing change. Roopa Dhatt, MD, co-founder of Women in Global Health, for example, talked about their “event organizer’s checklist,” a tool developed as part of the Women Leaders in Global Health Initiative that offers recommendations on how event organizers can be more gender-equal.

Of course, ensuring that women have an equal voice in the public dialogue is representative of a larger movement to address gender parity in global health, at all levels of the work force.

Women represent 75 percent of the health work force in many countries, and the majority of students in academic and global health tracks. Yet, as pointed out by Barry, they hold only eight of the 34 World Health Organization executive board positions and fewer than one in four global health leadership positions at the top U.S. medical schools.

"We as women have to do a better job of encouraging other women... to apply and put their names forward for leadership roles," said Karen Goraleski, executive director of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Tune in to learn more.

Photo by rubixcom

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