GenderAvenger Founder Gina Glantz and Disruptive Women to Watch in 2016

When the Digital Health Summit took place at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, only 27 percent of the speakers on the agenda were women. And when the Health & Bio Technology Summit convened in New York, women represented just 9 percent of the experts on the agenda.

But that’s not the worst. The Connecting California to Improve Patient Care event in 2014? Not a woman to be found at the podium or on any panels.

The reason we know these disparities exist is because of GenderAvenger, an organization dedicated to ensuring that women are fairly represented in the public dialogue.  GenderAvenger’s official mantra is simple, direct and powerful:

"Women as equals will become the norm when it is the norm.  Everywhere."

One of the organization’s founders is Gina Glantz, a Disruptive Woman to Watch for 2016. "Avenger Gina" is on a mission to make male-dominated proceedings and female underrepresentation a thing of the past, and she’s building an army of fellow Avengers to make it happen.

As she wrote on the GenderAvenger website: 

The disconcerting news is how many instances of women being absent from or underrepresented in the public arena were reported.  Too many of us have attended a conference with all or mostly male panels, watched legislative hearings featuring men and more men, read magazine roundtables, anthologies, and top ten lists and found few, if any, women.

GenderAvenger, as constructed by Glantz, is a guerrilla, grassroots movement. As she has said, it’s not about getting thousands of names on petitions. Rather, it’s about challenging event organizers and organization leaders about the gender imbalance in their activities. It’s about making them uncomfortable about creating the perception that women don’t count. And by creating a GenderAvenger mobile app, Glantz’s forces can "chart gender balance wherever they might be and send the results by Twitter or Facebook to condemn or celebrate what they see."

There are tremendous societal and health benefits to the work Glantz and her allies are carrying out. As readers of the Disruptive Women blog know well, this nation has an abundance of extraordinary, talented women who are transforming American healthcare and building a better system for patients and consumers. If the work of GenderAvenger succeeds in allowing more of their voices to be heard, we’re better for it.

In an op-ed in the Washington Post, Glantz made it clear she’s not willing to settle for solutions that are all hype and without substance. As she wrote:

When is 'celebratin' women not all that good for women? Let’s face it. Something tagged exclusively for or about women is all too often a revenue generating strategy alongside a way to deflect criticism about the lack of attention to women and an opportunity for the powers-that-be to say, 'look what we do for women.' Unfortunately, often, what they 'do' is not much.

She cited as examples Food and Wine Magazine promoting an "all women’s issue" but only finding two women to feature as its 11 "Best New Chefs of 2015" and the Center for Strategic and International Studies touting a "Smart Women/Smart Power" series while only finding one woman to speak at its premier forum.

She wrote in her Washington Post op-ed:

I am 72 years old and I am tired of waiting.  I want my grandsons to grow up to be stars and to see women stars in the same places they appear.  It won’t happen unless their mothers, their aunts, their grandmothers say 'no' to the assumption that women can be 'separate' and 'equal.'

By saying "no," Glantz is creating more opportunities for women to say "yes" to invitations to share their ideas, their leadership, and their powerful voices.

Robin Strongin

Robin Strongin, President & CEO of Amplify Public Affairs, LLC (a woman-owned small business), and Creator & Founder of the award winning Disruptive Women in Health Care®, is an accomplished public affairs expert with over 30 years of experience working in Washington, DC.  Before her public affairs and stakeholder work, Robin was selected as a Presidential Management Intern and worked in the Office of Legislation and Policy in the Health Care Financing Administration (now the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services), the Prospective Payment Assessment Commission (now the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission) in addition to serving in the Office of Congressman James J. Florio (D-NJ) and the National Health Policy Forum at GW University.  Robin currently serves on the following boards: Kaiser Permanente’s Institute for Health Policy; the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function (founded by Dr. Oliver Sacks); AcademyHealth’s Translation and Dissemination Institute Advisory Committee; Physician-Parent Caregivers Foundation; and Consumer Action’s Corporate Advisory Board. Robin is a member of the Washington DC Capital Speakers Club and is a Contributor to The Hill newspaper.