Stanford initiates movement to recruit women for top positions in global health

The conference spotlights accomplishments of women working in global health and encourages next generation of leaders.

The inaugural Women Leaders in Global Health conference at Stanford University October 12 launched an initiative to recruit more women for global health leadership positions.

More than 400 people from around the world attended, and about 800 more watched live from their homes of workplaces.

The conference – which will be an annual event – aims to spotlight the accomplishments of women working in global health and also to encourage the next generation of potential leaders to fill the gap in leadership positions.

More than that, it’s meant to inspire a movement for change.

Michele Barry, MD, director of Stanford’s Center for Innovation in Global Health, pointed out that 90 percent of healthcare around the world occurs at home, mostly by female caregivers.

“On the frontline, at least 75 percent of the health workforce are women, and looking around this room, there is no shortage of women in the pipeline,” she said.

[Also: GE Healthcare, Women in Global Health pay tribute to ‘Heroines of Health’ at World Health Assembly]

Yet there are few women in top positions. Most health administrators, health-sector CEOs, deans, ministers of health and members of the World Health Assembly are men. Those men are making critical decisions that impact the health of women around the world.

“When we have diversity, careers prosper, companies flourish and health outcomes improve,” Barry said. “We all win.”

Stanford Provost Persis Drell, told the group, “Quite simply, we won’t get the right answers without women in leadership roles.”

The inaugural conference was sponsored by 18 organizations.

The London School for Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has agreed to host the next Women Leaders in Global Health conference in 2018. 

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