Report: Oslo Hub meeting in Women in Global Health Norway
To celebrate the recent Lancet issue on 'Advancing women in global health' and to discuss the next steps and initiatives of the Women in Global Health Norway platform, the Centre for Global Health welcomed the WGH Norway participants in Oslo for an informal network meeting.
More than 40 women (and fortunately a few men) found their way to Tøyen Hovedgaard on the 13th of March, to discuss the future of the WGH Norway and the recent Lancet issue, and to network with Global Health colleagues.
The meeting started with a welcome from Prof. Andrea S. Winkler, focusing on how Norway can contribute to gender equality and parity in leadership. She continued by presenting some of the many activities and achievements that has been going on since the launch of Women in Global Health Norway in November 2018. The global network of Women in Global Health has grown, with more chapters in Sweden, Somalia and a regional African hub launched in Kigali, Rwanda. A launch of the new Ethiopian chapter (in Addis) is in process. Lastly, Prof. Winkler discussed the current plans of WGH Norway and the need for building national ownership and a sustainable governance structure of the platform.
Introduction by Sigrun Møgedal
Dr. Sigrun Møgedal gave the participants an introduction to the Lancet issue "Advancing women in science, medicine and global health" (Feb 09, 2019, Volume 393, and Number 10171) as food for thought before the World Café discussions. Dr. Møgedal used three papers from the Lancet to illustrate how gender diversity is both an opportunity and a challenge in global health.
Ms. Ingeborg Haavardsson introduced the idea of the World Café in which members in attendance were divided into 5 groups. The discussions in groups took 45 minutes and was facilitated by Inger Brummenæs Scheel, Benedikte Alveberg, Sidsel Roalkvam, Øyunn Holen and Tonje Tingbjerg. After the discussions, members presented the main outcomes of their discussion for 45 minutes, facilitated by Benedikte Alveberg.
The members were presented with 3 questions for discussion:
- Inspired by the issue «Advancing women in science, medicine and global health” from the Lancet and the introduction by Dr. Møgedal, what challenges do you see in the field of global health in Norway today?
- What issues and challenges are most relevant for the Women in Global Health Norway platform to target?
- In order for the Women in Global Health Norway platform to target these issues and challenges - What activities and initiatives would you find most relevant?
Outcome of the group discussions
The outcome of the discussions in the groups can be divided into challenges and solutions identified and summarized as follows:
- Globally, traditional structures are still in place in Global Health leadership with male dominance, and women are underrepresented in leadership positions.
- Women make up 75% of the healthcare workforce, yet occupy less than 25% of the most influential leadership positions.There is a need for a female global health community that builds on our differences and experiences, that embrace system knowledge and understand power relations and interests; local to global and global to local
- Lack of mentorship: Young professionals find it hard to get advice to help them advance in their careers
- Women in global health leadership positions need to act as role models and help other to climb the ladders into leadership positions.
Strengthening the WGH Norway network:
- The creation of a directory of Women in Global Health Norway for people to understand who is in the room and their skill set
- A catalog containing email addresses/positions of members of Women in Global Health Norway which will serve as an easy reference
- Staying on purpose with regards to advocating for gender equality in the workplace
- We need to have objectives and clear tangible goals of where we want be as Women in Global Health Norway
- Forming communities around common topics or presentations
- Promoting “Female values” values; be a corrective in what counts for power; keep focus on relevance for inclusion, access, participation and empowerment
- Expose barriers and biases that creates deviations from purpose and deal with these through networking and enabling action
- Establish contacts with WGH networks in other countries
- Further development and use of communication tools (website, social media)
Networking and knowledge sharing:
- WGH Norway should facilitate networking and forming of mutually beneficial groups
- Peer to peer support
- Mentorship by experienced female leaders to younger professionals
- More cross professional dialogues to enhance collaborations; learn and build capacity together across divides
- Optimize gender lens and engagement in policy and systems research, together with women and men;
- Facilitation of small informal discussions inspired by the World Café concept.
- Work with and enable national institutions for shared capacity building, mentorship and knowledge exchange