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Women's Research Initiative

The Women in Global Health Research Initiative at Weill Cornell

Welcome to the new Women in Global Health Research Initiative homepage. This initiative was started in 2015 at the Center for Global Health at Weill Cornell Medical College.  As junior faculty in academic global health at Weill Cornell, we began to notice a gender disparity between the number of our contemporaries – young trainees and faculty entering the global health research world, the majority of whom are female – and the number of leaders in our field to whom we look  for mentorship and guidance, a majority of whom are male.   There is a fundamental global health leadership gender gap.  Women’s health is a top global research priority, yet women hold less than 25% of leadership roles in global health research.  Since a majority of trainees interested in global health are female, what is contributing to the attrition of women from this field?  What kind of support is needed in order for them to stay? This initiative began by  identifying four main gender-based challenges for women working in global health research: 

1. Lack of female role models and mentors in global health research

2. Limited access to research training and leadership development due to the need to spend significant time conducting field research in resource-poor settings

3. Balancing career and personal life when extended time for field research in resource poor settings is required

4. Health and safety risks in the field, which are more pronounced for women

The Initiative’s Goals

The Women in Global Health Research Initiative seeks to empower and support women working in the field of global health research by addressing these four main challenges and implementing interventions to overcome them. On February 2, 2015, the Center for Global Health convened the first Weill Cornell Women in Global Health Research Symposium. Over 60 women from 14 universities and 7 countries were present to discuss the current obstacles for women working in the field of global health research and to strategize about ways to retain and promote women in the field.

Growing the Initiative

One of the first activities the Initiative is establishing is a Network of women committed to global health research. A cross-institutional network will connect women working in global health to provide supplementary mentorship particularly for gender-related or personal issues that may be difficult to discuss with male mentors. These could include, for example, how to travel for field research while pregnant, or how to lead a cross-cultural study team as a woman in a developing country that lacks fundamental gender equality.  

Attendees of the inaugural symposium returned to their institutions and have implemented their own activities to address the issues of gender disparity in global health research.  If you have activities that you would like share with the Initiative or ideas on how to become involved, email us.

If you are interested in joining our Network or have any questions about our Initiative, please email Grace Seo, the Coordinator of the Women in Global Health Research Initiative:

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