Dr Wessel van den Berg

Wessel Van den Berg, MenCare Officer, Equimundo

Dr Wessel van den Berg

Senior Advocacy Officer, Equimundo: Center for Masculinities and Social Justice

Wessel van den Berg works as the MenCare Officer at the non-profit organisation Equimundo and is a research fellow at the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology at Stellenbosch University. He is also the father of two young children and sees fatherhood as his primary job. His curiosity about men and care led him to work as a kindergarten teacher, counsellor, activist, and researcher. He is co-founder of the MenCare Global Fatherhood Campaign and the State of South Africa’s Fathers report series. He is passionate about evidence-based advocacy, and has worked on topics such as the prohibition of corporal punishment of children, the promotion of gender equal parenting leave, gender equal and violence free workplaces, and gender-transformative sexual and reproductive health and rights. His doctoral study, completed in sociology in 2022 at Stellenbosch University, is about the distribution of care work and engaging South African men in a feminist ethic of care.

All Sessions by Dr Wessel van den Berg

8:00 am - 9:00 am
Auditorium (Selous)

Panel on Male Allyship: What do men have to do with it?

On the pathway to reimagining leadership, people of all genders will need to be engaged. In the global health field, where women make up only a quarter of leadership despite making up 70 percent of the workforce, men must be active players in generating systemic changes to correct this imbalance. This panel will bring together a small group of male allies who are each playing a role in advancing gender equality in global health. Together, speakers will explore the importance of allyship and provide insight into how to foster allyship at the individual and institutional levels.

9:30 am - 11:00 am

Allyship in Action: Driving Women's Leadership Collectively

Led By: John Hopkins University.

An emerging body of evidence suggests that allies, particularly male allies, have a crucial role in dismantling systems that perpetuate disadvantage towards women leaders. A recent national study conducted by Promundo found that “most men want to be allies for gender equality, and many think they already are – but women aren’t convinced. It’s time for men to close this ‘allyship’ gap and move from intention to thoughtful action”. Women can also support each other through allyship, though men are more often in positions of power and privilege.

While allyship is increasingly promoted as a tool to support diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace, there is limited guidance on what allyship looks like specifically for advancing women’s leadership globally, and how to foster it within our organizations. Most current advice on the topic is vague at best, and unhelpful or frustrating at worst. Harvard Business Review suggests “taking the temperature”, and “look for patterns” as ways to identify male allies; Deloitte suggests allies should “lead with courage and compassion”. This type of advice can leave allies wondering what they can really do to advance women’s leadership.

This workshop seeks to share and generate tangible and applicable approaches to fostering allyship for women’s leadership in global health. We will do this by exploring organizational entry points where allyship can impact women’s leadership and brainstorming strategies in small groups. Entry points for allyship will be defined as enabling/enhancing organizational factors for women’s leadership. Allyship can and should occur at multiple levels: interpersonal (e.g., mentorship, sponsorship), public (e.g., sponsoring women in public, calling out if a woman was interrupted in a meeting), and systemic (e.g., equal pay, equitable workplace policies).

11:45 am - 1:15 pm

Panel on Gender Equity and Inclusivity in LMIC Research Mentorship (LSHTM)

Led by: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

This parallel session will bring together finalists from the crowdsourcing open call to present their mentorship ideas and an expert panel to discuss issues around equity, gender, and an intersectional perspective in research and in mentorship in LMICs, opportunities and challenges of women in science and strategies to advance more women leaders in global health.

Introduction and Overview
Dr Eneyi Kpokiri, PhD Clinical Pharmacist and Assistant Professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

1. Ms. Hannah Berrian, Research Fellow for Patient Engagement and Person-Centered Approaches at Reducing the Burden of Severe Stigmatizing Skin Diseases (REDRESS), Liberia.
2. Dr Mrittika Barua, Assistant Professor and Deputy Director, Centre for Science of Implementation and Scale-up, BRAC James P Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University, Bangladesh
3. Ms. Annabel Steiner, Student, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
4. Dr. Bethelhem Solomon Woldetsadik, Associate Researcher , Armauer Hansen Research Institute

1. Dr Mariam OTMANI DEL BARRIO, Scientist, gender and intersectionality research lead, The Special Programme on Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, WHO, Switzerland
2. Dr Ogechukwu B. ARIBODOR, Senior Lecturer, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria
3. Dr. Agatha Eileen Wapmuk, Public Health Physician/Research Fellow, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Yaba, Lagos State, Nigeria
4. Dr. Phyllis Awor, Lecturer, Makerere University School of Public Health, Uganda
5. Dr Wessel van den Berg, Senior Advocacy Officer, Equimundo: Center for Masculinities and Social Justice
6. Prof Michele BARRY, Director of the Center for Innovation in Global Health, Senior Associate Dean for Global Health, Stanford University, United States.