The Gender Agenda at the Annual APHA 2019 Conference on "Creating the Healthiest Nation: For sc

Here is the summary of takeaways from the four sessions WGH hosted and participated in at APHA 2019 on women's leadership, women in politics, gender transformative leadership and an intervention on UHC and gender equality.

1. Mentorship:

Many early-career women still find navigating global public health challenging. Therefore, we need to ensure that we continue to uplift each other especially young women. In addition, when we are the mentee we also need to be explicit to what we need from those mentors- be specific and unapologetic! We also heard that mentorship also needs to address some of the underpinning issues that at times are not so overt, like imposter syndrome. Let’s ensure when we are mentoring that we are also creating spaces that are supportive because “you are supposed to be there”! One of the greatest parts of mentoring is that mentoring gives confidence, no one is born with confidence, and it is built over time and experience. Lastly, we also heard from many of our panelists, men have been great mentors, and not enter male-bashing. This is a great aspect of women leaders, we tend to be more inclusive and bring balance.

2. Networking:

We heard from our panelists that building relationships are extremely important to foster and nurture and build on the power of networking. Even though many engage in networking, many also do not follow-up or respond- ghosting your contacts. It is critical to your career to construct a network to support your career.

For employers, when recruiting seek out young women and give the opportunity, this talent pool is not tapped into enough. Make recruitment everybody’s business.

3. Movement building:

To continue building on the movement, we must not forget to address the layers of intersectionality, privilege, and power. Gender-based norms and responsibilities, discrimination, harassment, especially sexual harassment are all prevalent and largely contribute to barriers women face every day. Some women were strong enough to stand up against discrimination and harassment, but many also do feel they are supported.

The conversations on Universal Health Coverage (UHC), may still need some friendly nudging to keep gender as cross-cutting and not as an afterthought.

Social movements must go beyond social media, movements need to be catalyzed and supported through funding to counter the growing push back.

Most importantly, we must change the narrative about women leaders:

  • Women are leaders

  • Women support women’s leadership and each other

  • More men and other genders need to also support women’s leadership & vice a versa.

Did you know?

  • ONLY 33% of UN agencies are led by women? Yet, women make up 70% of the global health workforce…

  • There are only 3 countries that 50/50 gender parity in Parliament? Rwanda, Bolivia, Cuba

A special thanks to our inspiring speakers: H.E. Edna Adan Ismael, Rebecca Martin, Shabnum Sarfraz, Kate Midden, Jane Armas, Kealoha Fox, Francoise Girard, Tiaji Salaam-Blyther, Gwen Camp, Leith Greenslade (moderator).

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