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The Gender Equity Initiative in Global Surgery is a new initiative in association with the PGSSC to address gender disparities in the surgery, obstetrics, and anesthesia workforce worldwide through research, advocacy, and mentorship.


We acknowledge the pervasive gender-based inequality in surgical fields worldwide. We want to promote gender equity in global surgery, in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 3 and 5. We believe that reducing gender inequality is a crucial component of surgical systems strengthening especially in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), a challenge that needs to be tackled in conjunction with the development of surgery.


This initiative is meant to be inclusive, progressive, and dynamic. We hope to build a community with a shared vision for gender equity because we acknowledge that this is a critical step towards the provision of surgical care for all.


  • To inform the surgical community and the public on gender disparities in surgery, anesthesia, and obstetric workforce through research

  • To advocate for gender equality in surgery, anesthesia, and obstetric workforce

  • To empower women surgeons, trainees, and medical students worldwide by creating a mentorship network



Rigorous research will form the basis of our work as we strive to address the gender disparities in global surgery. It will be our guiding hand for informed, evidence-based and data-driven advocacy to make social change. We are taking an analytical, problem-solving approach to the question: why are there so few women surgeons, and even fewer in faculty and leadership positions in surgery? We want to understand the systemic and perceived barriers for women in pursuing a surgical career, and also how they are manifested across different political, cultural, and economic contexts. 



We must work tirelessly to promote our unified vision for global gender equity. It is not enough to merely conduct research.  We must be able to communicate these important messages and ideals to academics, governments, and the public so that we can garner support and create lasting change. This strategy involves social media, publishing in academic journals and mainstream media, creating a public presence at international meetings and conferences, and being vocal at every opportunity. We hope to be a loud and resounding voice for the gender equity movement.


Research shows that mentoring fosters professional and personal development, and also enhances the female leadership pipeline, marshaling the empowerment of women. Acknowledging the need for such a platform, we endeavor to build a mentorship network of enthusiastic and passionate women surgeons, trainees and medical students from all over the world. By devising a mentor-mentee matching system that is structured and continually evaluated for quality relationship building, we will provide a program that helps accelerate the advancement of personal growth and career development in women, subsequently challenging the status quo in the surgical field.

© 2020 by Harvard Program in Global Surgery and Social Change

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