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Wellbeing of Women hosts first summit Challenging the Status Quo

Speakers at the event included Davina McCall, Mariella Frostrup, Caroline Nokes and Dr Nighat Arif


On Thursday 29 September, we hosted our inaugural Wellbeing of Women Summit, Challenging the Status Quo, in partnership with WPA Insurance, at our home in the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

We were joined by a fantastic line-up of speakers, hosted by presenter Cherry Healey, for an afternoon of lively discussions on the future of women’s health and the power of women’s voices to drive change.

If you weren’t able to join us – or if you want to relive the moment – you can catch up with the discussions via the YouTube links below.

Mariella Frostrup, Professor Dame Lesley Regan, Janet Lindsay and Dr Nighat Arif

Panel 1: Women’s voices driving change

We kicked off the afternoon with our first panel discussion, exploring how women’s voices are driving change across the women’s health sector. This panel was chaired by Caroline Nokes MP, Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, and featured presenter and menopause advocate Davina McCall, Black maternal health campaigner and Five X More co-founder Clo Abe, as well as Dr Ranee Thakar, President-elect of the RCOG, and GP and health influencer Dr Nighat Arif.

Davina McCall described how her own experiences of the menopause inspired her to start raising awareness and create the documentary Sex, Myths and the Menopause: "I hadn't talked about my menopause. We are scared that we're not relevant anymore - that we become invisible and can't talk about it in the workplace. I honestly believed when I was 40 that TV would've spat me out by the time I was 50.

"The documentary changed my life. I talked about something that I either thought was going to be career-ending or was going to help a few people. I had no concept - none - at the time that it was going to change my life in such a wonderful, positive way."

We also heard how the Five X More campaign has successfully put Black maternal health on the political agenda, how healthcare professionals like Dr Nighat Arif are using social media to share health information, and what Dr Ranee Thakar’s priorities are as the incoming president of the RCOG.

Watch the panel below:

Panel 2: From experience to solution: leading innovations in women’s health

Next, we heard from female founders and innovators using their own experiences to fill longstanding gaps in the women’s health market. Chaired by Marija Butkovic, Founder & CEO of Women of Wearables, this panel featured Iva Lazarova, Clinical and Regulatory Lead of Daye; Lina Chan, Founder & CEO of Parla; Dr Hiba Sher Khan, an Obstetrician & Gynaecologist and HealthTech advisor; and Senior NHS Navigator Ruth Bradbury.

We heard about the motivations driving female founders, as well as the challenges they face, and how technological innovations can support the healthcare of the future.

Watch the panel below:

Mariella Frostrup and Prof Dame Lesley Regan

Q&A: Unpacking the Women’s Health Strategy – Professor Dame Lesley Regan in conversation with Mariella Frostrup

Finally, we heard from Wellbeing of Women’s Chair, and the first Women’s Health Ambassador for England, Professor Dame Lesley Regan, as she talked us through the Women’s Health Strategy in conversation with journalist Mariella Frostrup.

Dame Lesley shared her vision for a radical shift in women’s healthcare, including digital health hubs.

Watch Professor Dame Lesley Regan in conversation with Mariella Frostrup below: