Women leadership for public health: The added value and needs of women driving public health system reform in Ukraine


  • Katarzyna Czabanowska Department of International Health, CAPHRI, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands; Institute of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland.
  • Anna Cichowska Myrup Division of Health Systems and Public Health, World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe, Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • Olga Aleksandrova World Health Organization Country Office, Kyiv, Ukraine.




leadership, public health, Ukraine, women.


The Ukrainian health care system is undergoing reforms. Although women constitute a driving force in the Ukrainian health system transformation, their economic and decision-making participation remains extremely low. The existence of barriers such as:  work/life balance, gender bias, stereotypes, lack of confidence, lack of mentoring, and lack of adequate networking and equal access to opportunities prevent women from reaching high leadership positions.

With the aim to empower the current and future female public health leaders, the Ministry of Health of Ukraine and WHO held a seminar entitled “Women’s Leadership in Public Health” in Kyiv on 16-18 May 2017. The seminar was based on the assumption that contemporary public health demands require a more inclusive and less hierarchical style of leadership – focused on developing and working with stakeholder networks. Such a leadership style is more effective in achieving public health goals.

The international, interdisciplinary and inter-professional faculty engaged in the interactive meaning making around such topics as: the self-assessment of leadership competencies, public health leadership, leadership theories, system thinking, dealing with interests, power and stakeholders, barriers to women leadership and methods to address them, special leadership tools for women empowerment and leading change, communication and impact. Strengthening health systems for better health was the red thread throughout the whole seminar.


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How to Cite

Czabanowska, K., Cichowska Myrup, A. and Aleksandrova, O. (2018) “Women leadership for public health: The added value and needs of women driving public health system reform in Ukraine”, South Eastern European Journal of Public Health (SEEJPH). doi: 10.4119/seejph-1878.



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