WomenLift Health Global Conference 2024: Driving Inclusion for Women Leaders

The WomenLift Health Global Conference 2024, which took place from April 6 to April 8, 2024, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, is one of the largest platforms addressing the challenges impeding women's progress in leadership roles in global health, with this year's theme "Reimagining Leadership: New Approaches to New Challenges."

2 mins read
WomenLift Health Global Conference 2024: Driving Inclusion for Women Leaders
WomenLift Health Global Conference 2024: Driving Inclusion for Women Leaders. Photo @X WomenLift Health

The WomenLift Health Global Conference 2024, held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, has served as a powerful catalyst for change, igniting a global movement to dismantle barriers and promote gender equality in leadership roles.

With over 1,000 attendees from 41 nations, the event has amplified the call for a more equitable and inclusive landscape, where women’s voices are heard and valued and integrated into decision-making processes, especially in global health.

Furthermore, Dr. Jacqueline Kitulu, the first female President of the Kenya Medical Association, eloquently stated that achieving gender equality requires a collective effort, one that involves both women and their male allies.

“Each and every one of us comes from a family; there are other people who are male allies that we don’t speak about — they are important because they are the ones who will get you where you want to go.”

Additionally, “We’re going to change this picture of the old boys’ club – we started getting younger female doctors to volunteer and create a young doctors’ network. In the issues I was facing, I hoped that I wouldn’t struggle alone, that I’d have other females working with me, influencing other men,” Kitulu said. 

The conference also highlighted the urgent need to address the underlying societal barriers that impede women’s ascent to leadership roles.

Moreover, former Tanzanian President Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, in his speech, pointed out that ensuring 30% representation of women in parliament serves as a powerful example of how leadership can catalyze change. However, he rightly stated that the journey towards gender balance extends far beyond numerical targets; it necessitates a fundamental shift in societal norms and mindsets.

“We need to address the underlying societal barriers that prevent women from reaching leadership positions. Ultimately, this is not just about helping women, it’s about creating a more balanced and effective government that benefits everyone.”

Former Tanzanian President Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete

Similarly, Dr. Adanna Chukwuma, Senior Director at Visa Inc., stated the importance of systematic approaches to promote women’s representation. Implementing measures such as mandating qualified female candidates on shortlists and providing unconscious bias training for decision-makers are crucial steps toward creating a level playing field.

“Strong representation of women in leadership is crucial, not just in global health but across every sector – society, economy, and decision-making,” she emphasized. “Women’s lives are impacted by policies in all these areas. Without women at the decision-making table, the policies and decisions made won’t adequately reflect their needs.”

During her tenure at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), “we implemented a systematic approach to ensure women’s representation in leadership positions. We mandated that all advertised positions include a qualified woman on the shortlist. We ensured decision-makers received training on unconscious bias. This training equipped them to identify and avoid inappropriate interview questions that could disadvantage female candidates.

The WomenLift Health Global Conference 2024 has not only amplified the voices of trailblazing women but also served as a powerful reminder that gender equality in global health leadership is not merely a matter of equity; it is a necessity for creating balanced and effective policies that address the diverse needs of our global community. 

Notable personalities who attended the WomenLift Health Global Conference 2024 include Rt Hon Helen Clark, Dr. Anita Zaidi, Botswana’s Ambassador to Australia, H.E. Ms. Peggy Serame, former Minister of Trade and Industry in Botswana; DAE- Homi Bhabha Chair Professor at the National Centre for Biological Sciences of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Bangalore, Dr. Satyajit Mayor; and Founder & Honorary Board Member, WomenLift Health; Senior Associate Dean, Stanford Global Health, Dr. Michele Barry.

Leave a Reply