Women Catalysts: Inspiring Stories of Global Health Entrepreneurship

| March 22, 2024

Women hold 70% of health worker positions globally, with 90% of those positions being held by nurses – despite only women holding 25% of leadership roles in health.  Women founders drive revenue, job growth, and innovation. However, there’s a notable lack of investment in women and minority founders, with Black founders receiving only 0.48% of venture funding in the US. Co-hosted by the Aspen Global Innovators Group (AGI) and MIT Solve, the speakers reflected on career advancement, disparities, and investment in women and girls.

AGI Executive Director Lola Adedokun prompted a discussion with Henrietta Fore about how to improve these disparities and invest in women’s leadership. Fore shared that women’s entrepreneurship is a field doing well overall with expanded financing options, including the rise of venture capital funding. “I think one of the enormous opportunities we have right now is public and private finance,” she said. “We are on the cusp of being able to join these two financial systems, but they are like rivers right now that are flowing by each other.”

Women are dreaming up businesses, said Fore, and there are more places than ever to get training. However, work is still needed to make inroads for women in entrepreneurship. She said, “I think the world will be better, especially with more women leading, but it is, you know, we really need to get out there. I think your girlfriends help a lot. But your male friends do too. It is just friends help you, they pick you up when you’re down, and you help them when they’re down.”

Despite these challenges, Adedokun highlighted the many inspiring examples of women leaders making a difference in their communities and beyond. These women are leading last-mile solutions and significantly contributing to their fields and industries. They serve as a reminder of what is possible when women are given equal opportunities and support.



Following the conversation with Fore, a panel event brought together some of the most inspiring women in tech and entrepreneurship. The event was moderated by Hala Hanna, the Executive Director of MIT Solve, and featured Lauren Rumble, Associate Director of Gender Equality at UNICEF, Yasmin Madan, who leads the Co-Impact Group, and Evana Oli, an entrepreneur, co-founder of Beautiful Curly Me.

The panelists shared their experiences and insights on how we can work towards gender equity in these fields. Hanna introduced MIT Solve, a platform that finds and scales the most innovative tech solutions to global challenges. She highlighted that 60% of MIT Solve’s team are women-led, a testament to their commitment to gender equity.

For entrepreneur Evana Oli, her six-year-old daughter’s experience with racism and traditional beauty standards inspired her creation of a doll that represented her daughter’s identity. Oli’s experience highlights the importance of representation and the need for diverse voices in entrepreneurship.

Women’s perspectives are often overlooked in the tech industry, said Yasmin Madan, executive director of Co-Impact Group. Investing in women could provide unique insights and solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems globally.

UNICEF is working towards gender equity, too. Lauren Rumble, Associate Director of Gender Equality, discussed the importance of creating safe spaces for women to thrive.

The panelists agreed that there is still much work regarding gender equity in tech and entrepreneurship. They highlighted the need for more representation of women, girls, and other underrepresented groups in these fields and stressed the importance of creating supportive environments that encourage diversity and inclusivity. The event was a reminder of the incredible work being done by women and girls in tech and entrepreneurship, and the need for continued efforts towards gender equity. As we celebrate Women’s History Month, let us remember the contributions that women and girls have made to society and continue to work towards a more just and equitable world for all.


Watch the session now!