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Stanford conference outlines new vision for global health leadership


The inaugural Women Leaders in Global Health conference – held earlier this fall at Stanford – convened more than 400 men and women from 68 countries to discuss the under-representation of women in global health leadership and empower the next generation of women leaders. The conference culminated with a collective call to action including seven tangible steps individuals and organizations can take to close the gender gap and ensure diversity at the leadership table.

The call was published last week in The Lancet along with a commentary from the Women Leaders in Global Health steering committee summarizing key themes from the conference and outlining a new vision for leadership in global health. The authors, led by Michele Barry, MD, director of the Stanford Center for Innovation in Global Health, which organized the conference, are inviting global health enterprises to:

  1. Increase visibility: Ensure gender balance when organising events, panels, roundtables, guest lecturers, or reading lists (see event organiser’s checklist by Women in Global Health).
  2. Lift women up the ladder: Systematically include women in such activities as panels, invited authorship of manuscripts, grant reviews, award nominations, and requests for proposals. Organise formal and informal ways to teach leadership skills.
  3. Advocate for work-life integration: Foster an organisational culture and establish norms that support men and women in integrating demanding careers with responsibilities outside the workplace.
  4. Eliminate the pay gap: Report on and increase transparency of data on compensation and salaries to understand and eliminate inequities.
  5. Cultivate thought leadership: Organise an event, workshop, or training to discuss the issue of inclusive leadership in the organisation. Use an intersectional lens to incorporate the needs of all, including the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex community, people of colour, and under-represented disciplines.
  6. Address the gender pay gap: In all sectors, collect data and report on pay equity, career progression, and barriers to diversity in leadership within organisations. Ensure the disaggregation and analysis of data by gender in all research and programmes.
  7. Emphasize accountability: Adopt evidence-based practices to promote and support inclusivity and representation in governance at all levels. Create indicators and monitor progress toward stated goals.

The call represents input from participants throughout the conference and following weeks. Barry and co-authors welcome others to share comments and feedback on the conference website.

Previously: Women leadership in global health benefits everyone, conference goers are remindedStanford's Michele Barry on why we need more women leaders in global health and Gender parity in global health events: A conversation
Photo of conference participants by Rod Searcey

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