* Not approved by the WONCA Executive March 2016

How to make your conferences more gender equitable

The participation of qualified women as speakers and leaders in scientific conferences is still inequitable. One way to fix this is to implement Gender Equity Standards (GES) through rigorous measurement of gender equity performance and outcomes.

What is the GES Guidebook?

The GES Guidebook is a practical and comprehensive tool for implementing the GES. 

The GES Handbook & Checklist

The GES Handbook is a brief summary of the process of implementation and timelines. The GES Checklist/Scoresheet is a handy tool to see if the tasks necessary to be recognized as GES-compliant are completed in a timely fashion.

About the GES Guidebook

The GES Guidebook is a comprehensive guide to implementing the GES (Gender Equity Standards for WONCA Scientific Meetings). The GES Guidebook is available for free download on this website.

The GES grew out of many WWPWFM (WONCA Working Party Women and Family Medicine) initiatives, and is a unique set of aspirational standards designed to promote gender equity at WONCA scientific meetings. The GES Guidebook outlines the practical steps required to implement the GES.

Developers of the GES Guidebook - Drs. Barbara Lent, Sarah Strasser, Cheryl Levitt and Lucy Candib.

(L to R) Drs. Barbara Lent, Sarah Strasser, Cheryl Levitt and Lucy Candib developing the GES Guidebook in Millcroft Inn, ON Canada June 2014.

In June, 2014, at the request of the WWPWFM, the four of us, long-time members of the WWPWFM, met to develop the GES Guidebook. Drafts were circulated to the WWPWFM and WONCA leaders, and feedback informed the next iterations. This version of the GES Guidebook reflects the suggestions and recommendations obtained through this broad consultation and was prepared for the WONCA Rio 2016 conference.

Although the WONCA World Council unanimously endorsed the GES at Cancun in 2010, the WONCA Executive reviewed the GES Guidebook in March 2016 but did not endorse it.

In a world where the status of women and girls impacts global health outcomes, every effort should be made to ensure that participation on committees, plenaries and workshops is equitable and that the needs and views of all participants are respected.

Cheryl Levitt, Barbara Lent, Lucy Candib and Sarah Strasser.

Download GES Documents

GES Guidebook

The GES Guidebook provides information on the 10 standards, their implementation, a timeline, and determining compliance.

GES Handbook

The GES Handbook is a shorter description of the GES implementation process.

GES Checklist

The GES Checklist/Scoresheet is a handy tool to check the tasks necessary to fulfill the GES.

FAQs

What is the difference between the GES and the GES Guidebook?

The GES (Gender Equity Standards for WONCA Scientific Meetings) is a unique set of 10 aspirational standards designed to promote gender equity at WONCA scientific meetings. The GES was unanimously endorsed by the WONCA World Council in Cancun in 2010. The GES Guidebook is a comprehensive and practical guide to implementing the GES. The GES Guidebook was reviewed by the WONCA Executive in March 2016, but has not been endorsed.

What is the GES Guidebook, Handbook and Checklist/Scorecard?

The WONCA World Council unanimously endorsed the Gender Equity Standards (GES) at Cancun in 2010.  At the WONCA Prague 2013, the Council unanimously endorsed an early draft of the GES Checklist to assist conference organizers in measuring and assessing how well they were meeting the GES. The authors developed the GES Guidebook and related documents on behalf of the WONCA Working Party Women and Family Medicine (WWPWFM). The WONCA Executive has not endorsed the GES Guidebook to date. Conference organizers are expected to fulfill the GES according to their contract with WONCA. The WWPWFM believes that the GES will have a major impact on how women reach their full potential in family medicine and at scientific conferences around the world.

Why are there 3 different documents addressing the GES?

Each of the 3 documents has a different amount of information and a different focus, and all are available online. The Guidebook is the most comprehensive of the 3 documents. It provides detailed background information and context for implementing the GES, and explains in detail the meaning of each standard, what is involved in determining compliance, and the timeline for compliance. The Guidebook also includes the Checklist/Scoresheet. The Handbook is a shorter description of each standard. The Checklist/Scoresheet is a handy tool to check to see if the tasks necessary to be recognized as GES-compliant have been completed.

What is the Checklist/Scoresheet for?

The Checklist/Scoresheet will help the conference organizers reflect on how well they are complying with the GES CORE and component Factors, and will enable reviewers to make comparisons and suggest improvements over time.

What are the Gender Equity Standards, Component Factors and CORE Factors?

GES is an aspirational set of 10 standards approved by the WONCA World Council in 2010. Each Standard is broken down into measurable Factors, with one or two factors being priority items, called CORE Factors and the rest being component Factors. Overall there are 32 Factors, of which 11 are CORE and 21 are component Factors. In the GES Guidebook, meeting the CORE Factor(s) of each standards is required to show compliance with the GES. Although compliance with component Factors is not required for GES compliance, the successful implementation of these additional factors will be acknowledged as examples of special efforts made to ensure the conference is gender equitable.

Which WONCA Conferences are affected by the GES?

The GES standards apply to all WONCA international conferences and to other conferences that choose to implement the GES. These include but are not limited to WONCA Regional Conferences and WONCA Rural Conferences.

Most family physicians in my country are women. Why should I be concerned about implementing the GES?

Even in countries or regions where women are the majority in the profession, gender equity in leadership and professional development is still a serious concern, and women still face overt and hidden obstacles in trying to reach their full potential. In WONCA’s international and regional arenas, women and men need to be equitably represented in all aspects of GES. GES sets minimal standards for participation by women in committee membership and invited plenary presentations. Other GES standards ensure that a gender perspective informs the entire atmosphere of the conference.

We already have mostly women on all our conference planning committees. Do we need more men on our committees?

No, you don’t need equal numbers of men and women on your conference planning committees. 50:50 is a minimal expectation for women’s participation. It’s a floor, not a ceiling.

Gender equity is not about having equal numbers of men and women on committees.  It’s the process of being fair to men and women. Equity involves remedying or redressing historical injustices that have prevented women from meeting their full potential and diminished access in the first place. Equity involves sometimes giving one group more. Equality in contrast, aims to ensure that everyone gets the same thing.

I am Chair of the Host Organizing Committee (HOC). Do I need to be concerned about the GES?

Once you are chosen as Chair of the HOC, review the GES and encourage other committee members to become familiar with the GES. The GES Guidebook and related documents will be of assistance to you.  Any difficulties encountered while implementing the GES can be discussed with the WONCA CEO and/or Chair of the WONCA Working Party on Women and Family Medicine.

I am Chair of the Host Organizing Committee (HOC) for a conference that is not happening for another two years. What do I need to do now? Later?

Once you are chosen as Chair of the HOC, review the GES and encourage other committee members to become familiar with the GES. The GES Guidebook and related documents will be of assistance to you. Any difficulties encountered while implementing the GES can be discussed with the WONCA CEO and/or Chair of the WONCA Working Party on Women and Family Medicine.

How will the WONCA Working Party for Women and Family Medicine (WWPWFM) use this information?

The WWPWFM will try and assess the implementation of the GES at each WONCA conference. The WWPWFM will reflect on the challenges and opportunities and make recommendations to planners of upcoming conferences.

Resources

The Hamilton Equity Recommendations (HER) Statement in 2007

English   Español   Português

The 10 Steps to Equity in Health in 2007

English  Español   Português

The Gender Equity Standards for WONCA Scientific Meetings (GES) in 2010

English   Español   Português   Nederlandse   Türkçe

WONCA’s Gender Equity Standards (GES) Poster

English

Copyright

For permission to use any content of the GES Guidebook, please contact Dr. Cheryl Levitt at the Department of Family Medicine, McMaster University, McMaster Health Campus, 100 Main Street W, 5th floor, Hamilton, ON L8P 1H6

Recommended Citation: Levitt C, Lent B, Candib L, Strasser S. Guidebook for Gender Equity Standards (GES) for WONCA Scientific Meetings. 2017.

Guidebook for Gender Equity Standards (GES) for WONCA Scientific Meetings 2017 by Cheryl Levitt, Barbara Lent, Lucy Candib, and Sarah Strasser is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Copyright, Creative Commons Attribution.

Contact Us

15 + 13 =