Dear Colleagues,

Kofi Annan, the 7th UN Secretary General once said, “There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women.” He of course was right.

Gender Diversity Policy

As a society dedicated to women’s health, it is clear that we must ensure that our female membership is fairly represented within the IGCS leadership. This includes elected positions on the council and appointed positions on IGCS committees.

The IGCS Council recognizes that having an organization that is composed of men and women with the relevant blend of differing skills, experience, perspectives, age, and cultures leads to more opportunities for effective leadership, stronger decision-making and better outcomes for our patients.

To work towards achieving gender diversity in our volunteer leadership, the Council has approved a new policy with the goal of increasing the number and percentage of women in leadership positions within the society. The policy outlines measurable objectives with the goal of achieving at least a 40%-60% ratio of women to men among all volunteer leadership positions by 2022.

The IGCS President-Elect is responsible for appointing committee members every two years. This policy will ensure that gender balance is taken into consideration when developing committee rosters as well as a variety of skills, experience, and characteristics in alignment with the strategic needs of the society.

By initiating new and increased leadership opportunities within our committee and volunteer leadership structure we have already started the process of identifying future leaders.

While the IGCS membership-at-large votes to elect new council members every two years, the Nominating Committee chaired by the immediate Past-President will ensure that the slate of candidates provides a fair representation of both women and men. I am thrilled that women were elected to serve in four out of the seven open council positions this year. We are well on our way to practicing what we preach!

Presidential Panel: Women in Leadership

To reinforce the importance of this theme, I am pleased to let you know that the Presidential Panel at the IGCS Biennial Meeting in Kyoto will celebrate women in leadership. The panel will be held on Saturday, September 15, 2018 at 11:00 AM and consist of:

  • Ellen Baker, veteran NASA astronaut and Director of Community-Based Cancer Prevention and Control Initiatives within the Cancer Prevention and Control Platform, Moon Shots Program at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, USA
  • Agnes Binagwaho, Vice Chancellor, University of Global Health Equity and former Rwandan Minister of Health
  • Etsuko Miyagi, Chief Professor, Yokohama City University, Japan

These three inspiring women will discuss challenges they have faced and strategies they employed to succeed throughout their remarkable careers.

As I begin to close my service as your president for these past two years, I have had conversations with many of you about gender and balance in our Society. It is clear that we all want the same thing. True international representation and true gender balance in our committees has happened. I would welcome the opportunity to continue these conversations with you for some time to come. I am always available at for suggestions and ongoing discussion.

Kyoto is shaping up to be an outstanding meeting with anticipation of over 2500 of our colleagues in attendance. I look forward to sharing the science and continuing the collegiality with you all.


Michael Quinn, AM, MGO
2016-2018 IGCS President