The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Global Health Equity (UGHE), Agnes Binagwaho, has called for improved health education and gender equality if an enabled world is to be achieved. Binagwaho said this at the TED Women’s conference on Saturday as the world prepared to celebrate International Women’s Day on Sunday, March 8. She explained that striving for equality is not enough to achieve an enabled world; but rather the solution is equity which means women promoting other women, men as their allies, supporting the most vulnerable and giving women the tools and resources to succeed. “We know that women when they use their skills in leadership positions, enhance the entire population they are in charge of. Imagine what would happen if women were at parity with men, what a huge benefit we could expect, because in general, we have a different style of leadership, more inclusive, more empathetic, more caring for little children and this makes the difference,” she said. “Unfortunately,” she added, “this idea doesn’t exist in the world and the difference between men and women in the leadership position is too big. Gender inequity is the norm in the majority of professions even in global health.” The TED Women conference is a three-day annual event that hosts a cross-section of bold, brilliant and innovative women. Binagwaho, who is also Rwanda’s former minister of health, represented Rwanda, among the influential women from across the globe to discuss the progress Rwanda has made in population health, vaccination rates, and female political representation to name a few, and what it has yet to achieve with women at the helm. She attributed Rwanda’s strides in health delivery (including milestones such as the reduced rates of child and maternal mortality) to the many women in leadership positions who are using their skills as leaders to enhance the lives of people within their communities. Whilst Rwanda is the only sub-Saharan African country to have been recognised amongst the top ten countries achieving near-gender parity in the 2020 World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, Binagwaho made it clear there is still more to do. She told audiences about how, in exchange for free education, graduates must promise to work six to nine years, with Rwandans working at least five of those years for the public good. The global health advocate spoke with pride about UGHE’s gender equity agenda, reflected in the 70% female enrollment in the University’s first medical school cohort, and within its new Center for Gender Equity, ensuring a gender lens is applied to all academic curricula, research, and community engagement initiatives. “I have learned that if we focus on women’s education, we improve positively as we as the well-being of the community. This is why I dedicate my life to education and this is totally aligned with my sense of equity and my pursuit for social justice,” she said. Binagwaho also applauded fellow Africans in the diaspora who continue to pursue an education but urged them to “come back home” and help “transform the whole of Africa into a land that has a promising future for you and the generations to come”. Today, she trains rising global health leaders to pursue and promote positive change in their communities and beyond through a holistic, and equitable approach to health education, leaving no one behind. Located in the hills of Butaro, UGHE’s unique curriculum ensures students receive the practical skills and training within communities to deliver healthcare that speaks directly to the needs of those receiving it. She continues to advocate for a greater focus on education as the academic starting point to pursuing equity and social justice both in Rwanda, and beyond.