In the 1800s education and legislation were considered “too weighty for the sensitive fibers of the female mind.” Luckily, such laughable ideas have long been discarded. Women are leading universities, organizations and nations — and the fibers of their minds are doing just dandy, thank you very much.
Women have made major strides in the field of health, including emergency preparedness, response and recovery. Among those is Eva Jarawan, a Georgetown University professor who has worked in public health for over 30 years, striving to protect the health of people around the world during emergencies.
Her career has included work at the World Bank, where she served people on a global scale. She also worked in countries such as Eritrea and the Democratic Republic of Congo on projects that tackled HIV/AIDS and health effects that linger after conflicts have ended.
Jarawan’s success in the field didn’t come about without discrimination based on her gender, she noted. Early in her career, her salaries were often below those of her male counterparts, even below those of the students graduating from her class. Back then, women were sometimes not standing up for themselves for fear of losing their jobs or were embarrassed, especially in developing countries, she said. As it took time for her to gain self-confidence, she identified with them. But she has since found her voice.
“Women have to speak up,” Jarawan said.
As a professor, Jarawan continues to improve health through her teaching and research and stays abreast of emergency preparedness needs around the world.
Jarawan told the Get Ready campaign that she admired protections put in place for emergencies in the U.S. But she expressed concern that too many people lag at getting ready despite knowing that they should be prepared for disasters. Looking to past disasters can motivate people to get ready for what may happen next, she pointed out.
“People try to draw lessons from them and improve, and that’s important,” Jarawan said.