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Centre for Global Child Health

International Women's Day 2018

International Women’s Day (March 8), is a global day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women. For this year’s IWD, the SickKids Centre for Global Child Health is celebrating some of the bold women who are working to improve the health of women, children, newborns and adolescents in resource-poor settings around the world.

Read on to hear from eight up-and-coming female researchers, educators, project managers and coordinators, who are part of a growing global movement to increase leadership opportunities for women in global health. These women are paving the way for more women to lead in the global child health field, and in turn create a more equitable world for all.

Canadian Women Contributing to the Global Health Agenda

“My goal is to support the progress of the global movement to build the capacity of health workers. They are a vital human resource and key to sustainable improvements in child health.” - Laura Lewis-Watts, Project Manager, Specialized Newborn Care Education, SickKids Centre for Global Child Health
Laura is working with international non-governmental organizations and ministries of health to improve the training of frontline workers in critical, lifesaving newborn care.


“Generating evidence that highlights the importance of prioritizing women and adolescents as agents of peace through greater investments in health and education is not only gratifying, but also sets the stage for a better, more inclusive world for all.” - Mahdis Kamali, Clinical Research Project Assistant, RMNCAH&N in Conflict Settings, SickKids Centre for Global Child Health
Mahdis is generating the evidence needed to improve reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health and nutrition in conflict-affected settings.


“Having female role models throughout my global child health career has driven me to push myself and to seek unique opportunities. Women in global health should seek out these mentors and learn the many ways of engaging in this diverse field.” - Barbara Couper, Academic Global Child Health Fellow, SickKids Centre for Global Child Health
Barbara is providing specialized education and mentorship for nurses and health workers in low-resources settings, the majority of which are women, to ultimately improve health outcomes for children.


 “My dream of becoming a nurse started as a little girl during a visit to a health centre in Ghana. As a Nurse Educator, I intend to act as a catalyst of knowledge transfer to my compatriots in Ghana to improve the conditions of children’s health through evidence-based practice and advocacy.” - Veronica Segbedzie, Nurse Educator, SickKids-Ghana Paediatric Nursing Education Partnership, SickKids Centre for Global Child Health
After training in nursing in Canada, Veronica is back in her home country, Ghana, to train paediatric nurses through the SickKids-Ghana Paediatric Nursing Education Partnership so that children all over the country can receive the special care they need.


“We have been experiencing a sea change in terms of women’s empowerment. Here in Canada we are especially fortunate to have a government and Prime Minister that are promoting and institutionalizing a feminist approach to international development.”- Claudia Schauer, Manager, The Home Fortification Technical Advisory Group, SickKids Centre for Global Child Health
Claudia is a proud Canadian and a proud woman in global child health who's working to address one of the most pressing issues: Malnutrition.

Read about Claudia's work and career path in her SickKids Perspective.  

 “Women are the backbone of global health. The field is heavily female, with men peppering the top tier positions. These men are doing great things – but I’d like to see this structure shift. My advice to other women is to keep making change, pushing boundaries, and striving for recognition.” - Emily Keats, Research Associate, Countdown to 2030, SickKids Centre for Global Child Health
Emily is contributing to the evidence base to inform global policy and help countries achieve their reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health and nutrition targets for 2030.


“With today’s globalization, we are more connected now than ever before. We are all neighbors and have a responsibility to look out for and protect one another. Equipping countries with tools and knowledge to be self-sufficient is the key to sustainable efforts.” - Devon Williams, Project Coordinator, SickKids-Caribbean Initiative, SickKids Centre for Global Child Health
Devon is working with partners across six Caribbean countries, to build a community of practice for paediatric cancer and blood disorders in the region.


“It’s an incredible opportunity to connect with women who have walked a different path than you; to learn, build partnerships and subsequently create change together.” - Nurse Educator, SickKids-Ghana Paediatric Nursing Education Partnership, SickKids Centre for Global Child Health
Marcail is working with our partners to build capacity, provide education, translate knowledge, and strengthen advocacy for children’s health in Ghana.