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The Women Leaders in Health and Conflict (WLHC) initiative is a newly formed group of aspiring and established women working as researchers and practitioners within fragile and conflict-affected states to challenge the status quo and enhance opportunities for women’s leadership. The WLHC initiative highlights and foregrounds the leadership women undertake in areas of armed conflict and humanitarian emergencies, which as we know affect women disproportionately. Increasingly on the frontline, women are improving health for conflict-affected populations through expert delivery of services, education, capacity strengthening, advocacy and research. WLHC is uniquely positioned in a domain that is globally under-researched and under-resourced given the complex political and security environment. Although there are significant barriers preventing more women from undertaking leadership roles across the health and conflict domain, there is also a wealth of opportunities for women leaders as more funders recognise their role in reforming the humanitarian system. We want to build a sustainable platform to address these challenges and opportunities by empowering women working in the field and facilitating research led by women, and effectively translating research into practice by working in close collaboration with academic partners, NGOs, humanitarian practitioners and policy makers.

The Conflict and Health Research Group (CHRG) and the Research for Health in Conflict Programme (R4HC-MENA) at King’s College London (KCL) and Hacettepe University, in collaboration with the Health in Humanitarian Crises Centre (HHCC) at The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) are pleased to invite submissions of abstracts for presentation at the inaugural Women Leaders in Health and Conflict Conferences. There are two separate conferences (London 8 June and Ankara 25-26 June 2020), which will be thematically linked, showcasing the importance of diversity and inclusion in leadership in health in conflict affected areas.

The objectives of these two one-day conferences are:

  1. To highlight the current challenges and successes of diversity in leadership in the health and conflict domain
  2. To create a network of researchers and practitioners working towards the advancement of women leaders in conflict affected areas
  3. To advocate for further research to improve diversity in leadership in conflict and health
  4. To develop a formalised network and concrete actions to advance diversity in leadership in health and conflict

For our inaugural conferences, we invite submissions of abstracts for presentation or posters that focus mostly on the themes below but will also consider other related topics not listed here:

  • Gender and racial inequality in health and conflict
  • The role of women in service delivery in conflict affected areas, focusing on NCDs (eg. mental health, cancer, diabetes), infectious diseases, sexual, reproductive and maternal health in conflicts
  • Southern perspectives on barriers and opportunities for women in health and conflict
  • Ethical research conduct and gender dynamics in health and conflict
  • Historical dimensions of women leaders in conflict and conflict and impact on the current dialogue
  • Security sector gender-related challenges

Abstracts should be between 300 and 500 words in English. Please submit abstracts to Kristen Meagher kristen.meagher@kcl.ac.uk by 14th April 2020 and indicate preferred conference location – London or Ankara. Participants will be informed in early May whether their submission has been successful, either as an oral presentation, or as a poster. Please note that we are unable to support travel or any other costs for those selected to present at the conference.