The Women Leading Change in Health and Science conference took place on 6 December in New Delhi, India, organized by WomenLift Health and with partners Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Govt of India and Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), a PSU of DBT, and Grand Challenges India (GCI-BIRAC). With over 250 people in attendance, it was remarkable in bringing together notable dignitaries across multiple sectors in India to promote women’s leadership in health and science.
Among the speakers was co-chair and founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Melinda French Gates. “It’s going to require advocates like the those in union ministries, the Department of Biotechnology, and WomenLift Health,” she said “to keep building leadership opportunities and support networks for women in health. It’s going to take government, businesses, and NGOs to make sure that they include women in their leadership ranks. And it’s going to require society—all of us—to value women’s work, women’s ideas, and women’s power.” Ms. French Gates also authored related pieces in the Hindustan Times and the Times of India.
WomenLift Health’s South Asia and Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Director, Dr. Shagun Sabarwal, moderated a panel on “Unlocking Innovation: Elevating Women Leaders in Science”, which brought together prominent leaders from the private sector, Indian ministries, and included Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, Former Chief Scientist, World Health Organization.
“Women’s leadership is more critical than ever before,” added Dr. Shagun Sabarwal. “Today, we opened up vital discussions on how we can ensure greater women’s representation in STEM, and especially in leadership roles. Let’s keep these conversations alive and accelerate action to change the status quo.”