Launch of Women in Global Health Chapter: WGH Germany

Establishing the WGH Chapter in Germany reflects the leading role Germany is taking in global health. It is therefore critical to ensure that women's contribution is visible and recognised, and that women and men are equally represented in leadership positions. Prof. Dr. h.c. Ilona Kickbusch (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva) and Dr. Sabine Ludwig (Charité Berlin / Robert Koch Institute) have taken forward this idea and initiated the establishment of a group of women working in the field of global health in Berlin in July 2017 to discuss on the founding of a German chapter of the international movement “Women in Global Health”. Dr. Roopa Dhatt, one of the founders of the Women in Global Health international organisation, was present at the launch of this chapter January 2018. Women in Global Health – Germany is now the first national "pilot chapter" of the international movement!

It was decided that the first order of business for the new chapter would be the collection of nominations and the compilation of a list of German women working in global health in Germany, and internationally, and women working in global health in Germany. Women on the list are required to have a minimum of two years’ work experience in this field. The list will be used as the basis for a national network of women in global health in Germany. There are more than one hundred women on the list from academia, scientific institutions, foundations, non-governmental organizations, international organizations, ministries and the private sector on the list.

The list and the network were officially launched on 12th January 2018 with the support of the Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, the Ministry of Health, the World Health Summit, and further sponsors. More than seventy women were attending the event.

Mrs. Ingrid-Gabriela Hoven, Head of the Directorate-General for Global Issues (Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development) and Mr. Lutz Stroppe (State Secretary, Ministry of Health) gave a speech and emphasized the importance of gender equality in global health. Dr. Bettina Menne (World Health Organization / Copenhagen) and Dheepa Rajan (World Health Organization/ Headquarters Geneva) reported on their personal experience concerning gender equality and the compatibility of family and work within the World Health Organization. Dr. Roopa Dhatt was then presenting the international organization Women in Global Health (WGH) and Dr. Sabine Ludwig the first national pilot chapter of the international movement Women in Global Health – Germany (WGH-GER). The famous young Norwegian violinist Mrs. Eldbjørg Hemsing played during the event and an American film team under the US film maker and director David Donnelly was video shooting the event. It will be featured in his upcoming film “Forte” focusing on topics of women leadership and empowerment from a perspective of culture and art.

The women were then discussing in the framework of a world cafe on the objectives, the work priorities, the future organizational structure of the initiative as well as on the possibilities of a mentoring programme. The objectives are to increase the visibility of the women in the network and their contributions to global health, to extend the network and identify further women for the list, to keep the network flexible, to meet regularly and to enhance mutual support. The network / list will serve as an easy reference for these women to be taken into consideration for leadership positions, decision-making bodies, presentations and talks on panels and conferences. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs already uses the list for future placements of professional women from the list.

Work priorities are the active participation in the revision of the global health strategy of the German government, the identification of important global health issues, the development of criteria for gender equal representation on panels and conferences, and to establish a mentoring programme.

WGH-GER is considered to be a best practice example for other national chapters. Other chapter potentials have come forward with interest. The aim is to support and motivate further countries to start with a network and contribute to more equality in global health on the local and national level.

Read about the chapters and their upcoming activities here.

Stay tuned for upcoming announcements on chapter inquiry procedures, to be released this Spring 2018. If you are interested in hosting a chapter of Women in Global Health, please submit your interest here.

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