Women activists, researchers, medical practitioners, and entrepreneurs today stressed that women should raise their voices and ask questions.

Speaking at a webinar 'Taking the Gender Agenda forward in Global Health' they talked about women empowerment, challenges of being a working woman and also about how the health of women was deteriorating.

"There is lack of funding for women's health. What works for men is believed to work for women too.

This is a catastrophe," said Lars Lien, leader of National Norwegian advisory board for concurrent addiction and mental health problems.

Talking on issues of careers and life journeys, inspiration and motivation, facilitators and factors of success, overcoming challenges along the way, speakers said how they were motivated to work in health, business and other areas. They touched upon how women were marginalised and stigmatised in society and how stigmatisation deprived women of health care. "Because of stigmatisation, women are not cared for by their family members," said Ram KM Shrestha, director and founder of Dhulikhel Hospital.

Speakers talked about how women were affected by mental health and how they suffered from mental health problems during the pandemic, a woman's career start, their inspirations and motivation and also shed light on the challenges of being a working woman. Sharing their experiences, they talked about how women were not allowed to pursue their education in the sector they had wanted to make a career in.

Pointing out the lack of women in leadership roles, they said women should assume leadership roles to bring change. They stressed on the need to get mentors and stand one's ground on what one wants to achieve, if one is to get success.

"Ask for what you want and get comfortable with rejection, create your own. Gather a great team of colleagues around you. Raise your voice.

Stop waiting for others to speak up.

Raise your hand and ask questions, showcase your work," said Candela Iglesias Chiesa, founder and director of Alanda Health. Women in global health is establishing its Nepal Chapter with the secretariat being placed at the School of Medical Sciences, Kathmandu University, with WGH Norway as its mentoring partner. The event was organised to mark International Women's Day.

A version of this article appears in the print on March 09, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.