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If Women Ruled the Health World

Female Leaders for the Development of Sustainable, Resilient Health Systems

If Women Ruled the Health World

October 16, 2023

World Health Summit, Berlin

Globally, women make up 70 percent of the health workforce, but they are significantly underrepresented in leadership positions. On the African continent, women form the backbone of the healthcare system. However, their work is often badly- or unpaid. With only 28 percent, the African continent represents the region with the lowest proportion of female physicians in the world. Empowering women in this context is key. The benefits of addressing these inequalities extend beyond the women and their talent, skills and knowledge, but have major impact on health and economy of a nation.

Discussion Points

  • Cross-Sectional Collaboration

    There needs to be more collaboration with those from outside the academic health world. The private sector should implement the measures on the ground. In doing so, it is important to move from informal to formal spaces.

  • Equal Leadership

    The data already shows that we need more women leading positions in health care. The African continent is not lacking female experts. Therefore, we need to stop studying the why, but to start figuring out the how.

  • Localization Approach

    In line with principles of female development policy, funding should be led directly to initiatives lead by women. Following the localization approach, this would benefit women leadership works and women’s rights organizations in the health sector.

  • Allyship

    Men in leading roles need to create space for women. This means that they should not step out, but instead become a part of the community. Thinking about how to sponsor the next woman is a political choice. This shift needs global convention and policies instead of solutions on the national level.

One-on-one exchange at the Salon "If Women Ruled the Health World"

Prof. Dr. Dr. Ilona Kickbusch and Dr. Eleanor Nwadinobi at our dinner dialogue at World Health Summit 2023

Contact Persons

Sabrina Rupprecht,


Continuous dialogue creates awareness for the urgent questions of our time. In salons, renowned experts open the discussion with our selected guests from business, politics and society.

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