Spring 2018 ED letter

We've had an exciting and busy spring season here at Women in Global Health (WGH), both internally and externally! Not only were we able to attend and participate in several high profile events, we were able to engage new audiences and sectors in the gender equality discussion. We were also able to progress the discussion of gender equality in global health leadership through articles, blogs, and online webinars/twitter chats. And although having to say goodbye to some core members of the team, we were thrilled to welcome in some talented individuals into the organization.

Heading into the summer months, fresh from our 2018 Annual Retreat, I am taking a moment to reflect back on some of our accomplishments from Spring 2018 and looking ahead to an exciting Autumn season.

WGH became an official non-governmental organization in the summer of 2017, allowing us to take our movement further and establishing a more structured volunteer team and approach. Since the formation of the organization, we have been so thankful for the individuals who have donated to our cause and helped position us in front of new audiences to further the discussion of gender equality in global health leadership.

Of course all of this work could not be possible with our dedicated team of volunteers. As we look back on the 3 years since we came together as a movement and this past year as an organization, we want to say a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to all team members who have been involved and for giving their time, energy, and passion to WGH. Although some members have moved on to other pastures, we know that we would not be where we are today without their dedication, often sacrificing their free time for the organization and performing an incredible balancing act between their professional life and their volunteer time. A special thank you goes out to our outgoing Board Members Desirée Lichtenstein, Kristina Ronsin, and Kelly Thompson, who although no longer part of the Board of Directors, continue to shape our organization in other ways.

The Spring 2018 season took off with a bang, with the launch of our first regional chapter (WGH Germany) and engaging with the 142nd Executive Board meeting of the World Health Organization. International Women’s Day in March saw WGH participating in a flurry of events, both online and in-person, ensuring that the issue of gender equality in health leadership stayed at the top of the global health community’s agenda. We rounded off the month with a side-event at the 62nd Commission on the Status of Women in partnership with the World Health Organization, International Labour Organization, and the Permanent Mission of Ireland to the United Nations, and launched our second regional chapter in Washington, DC. Gearing up for the World Health Assembly, April and May were full of exciting online twitter chats and presentations, focusing on the health workforce, closing the gap of women in leadership, and how gender intersects with global health. Rounding out the season was the annual World Health Assembly, the largest gathering of the global health community. We were thrilled to host the 2nd Annual ‘Heroines of Health: Celebrating Women in Global Health’ with GE Healthcare, supported by a wonderful group of partner organizations, that saw 9 female health workers from around the world celebrated for their work and dedication to their patients and community. We were also excited to be invited to join the UHC2030 partnership and proud to be the only organization focusing on gender equality. This World Health Assembly also saw a landmark Informal WHO Consultation on Gender, lead by the advisor on gender and youth in the Office of the Director General.

Having spent the last 7 months focusing on gender equality discussions within the health workforce, academia, civil society, and international organizations, WGH is looking forward to a summer break and coming back to the table refreshed and re-energized. We can’t thank our partners, friends, team members and advisors enough for their hard work so far this year and look forward to a fruitful and successful Autumn season.

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