International Women’s Day: Vall d’Hebron recognises the value and leadership of its professionals

72% of the Vall d’Hebron Barcelona Hospital Campus employees are women: We have celebrated 8-M with an act where our professionals have been the headliners.


Women make up 72% of professionals working at the Vall d’Hebron Barcelona Hospital Campus: Of the 9 307 people working at the University Hospital, 6 657 are women and 50 hold management positions, compared to 2 650 men, with 30 holding management positions.

They also play a fundamental role in research: Of the 1,327 professionals who are dedicated in total to the Vall d’Hebron Research Institute (VHIR) and the Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO), 960 are women. As well as the Centre for Multiple Sclerosis of Catalonia (Cemcat), where of the total of 52 professionals on staff, 31 are women.

On International Women’s Day, Vall d’Hebron recognises the value and leadership capacity of its professionals. Demonstrated at moments of maximum complexity such as the Covid-19 pandemic, which led to the emergence of the essential work of women who were in the front line, such as doctors, nurses, researchers or cleaning staff. Vall d’Hebron is an institution committed to gender equality in all its areas of activity, which is why it strengthens internal female leadership and parity in decision-making bodies. The Vall d’Hebron Research Institute (VHIR) is directed by Dr Begoña Benito, one of the few women who heads research centres in Spain. At the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital, 63% of managers are women, However, there is still space for improvement: 13 women are heads of a hospital department, out of a total of 55.  Regarding VHIO, about 50% of its primary researchers are women.

We celebrate International Women’s Day

On International Women’s Day, our professionals have been the protagonists. Dr Antonia Sambola, president of the Gender Perspective in Health Commission, and attending physician in the Acute Cardiological Care unit of the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital, has emphasised that the Gender Perspective in Health Commission, which was established in 2021, aims to improve equality in health care to women, decreasing gender biases. “The Commission wants to guarantee the same therapeutic effort for men and women: equal access to both sexes in hospitals for the same need; equal delay time and wait from the first symptoms to health care; the same therapeutic strategies for the same pathology, the same consumption and expense of medications by sex, in accordance with the treated pathology; and avoid over-prescription of analgesia in women, without prescribing therapeutic drugs,” stated Dr Antonia Sambola. 

We are clear on the challenges we have, and one step was the expansion of the mural of Pioneers, to continue giving visibility to women in science. We must empower future generations,” added Dr Begoña Benito. Meanwhile, Dr Eva Muñoz, medical oncologist and head of the Melanoma and Other Cutaneous Tumors Group at the VHIO, commented that we must continue to defend “the cultural transformation that we are living. It is the task of all of us to work locally so that equality is a reality globally.” “It is a day to remember women who still do not enjoy a right as fundamental as freedom. Today we take stock to continue moving toward equality,” added Dr Àngela Vidal, attending physician in the Neurology service at the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital and Cemcat neurologist. 

During the event, Marina Martínez, head of the Citizen Care Unit of the Children’s and Women’s Hospital, Natàlia Cussó, a leading figure in equality at the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital and a Human Resources Department Management Technician, Dr Judith Sánchez Raya, head of the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department; Zaira Benítez, head of the Data Architecture Unit; Ariadna Gomà, health social worker; Mònica Rodríguez, director of Teaching, Dr Karla Salas, a specialist in the Clinical Practice Quality and Improvement Unit; Marta Pegueroles, member of the Electromedicine Unit; Mònica Queraltó, head of the Asset Management and Registration Unit; Roser Cobos, director of the Legal Advisory Department; Dr Cristina Soler, attending physician in the Emergency Department and member of the Cross-Sectional Commission for Sexist Violence of the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital; and Hakima Ouaarab, member of the Community and Public Health Team of the Drassanes-Vall d’Hebron Centre for International Health and Transmissible Diseases.

After the speeches, the actresses Àgata Roca and Marta Pérez, of the T de Teatre company, closed the act with a poetry performance. T de Teatre began in 1991, with the reading of Little Tales of Misogyny by Patricia Highsmith, which fascinated them with their irony and mordacity. 

“Which woman inspires you most”: Messages from 8-M

Throughout 8-M, Vall d’Hebron professionals have been able to leave messages indicating “Which woman inspires you most” on panels located in the lobbies of the Children’s and Women’s Hospital, the General Hospital and the Traumatology, Rehabilitation and Burns Hospital, that will be on display for a few days. These same messages have been available on social networks with the hashtag #FEMVHambTu along with #8M2023, #DiaInternationaldelesDones or #8M. 

At 5:30PM, Dr Gemma Parramon, from the Vall d’Hebron Psychiatry service, also talked to the Sant Genís dels Agudells Neighbourhood Association about the stress and pressure that women suffer in each of the stages of life, how it affects them in mental health and what tools can be useful to manage it. 

Dr Elena Carreras, representative of Vall d’Hebron in “Barcelona. Ciutat de Dones” [Barcelona, City of Women]

On the occasion of the International Women’s Day, the Barcelona City Council launched the “Barcelona. Ciutat de Dones” campaign, which represents a symbolic map of the Barcelona underground and the urban train stations of Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya, with which some of the women who have left their mark on the city are honoured. Dr Elena Carreras, head obstetrician at Vall d’Hebron Hospital, head of the Maternal and Foetal Medicine Research Group of the VHIR and professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Vic-Central University of Catalonia, has been selected for the Vall d’Hebron subway station. Dr Elena Carreras is also president of the Advisory Council for Gender Policies of the Department of Health, and as a woman and as a professional is a pioneer in incorporating the gender perspective in health issues and in lobbying for women to be department heads and have positions of responsibility within health institutions. 

The map is an adaptation of the well-known City of Women that writer Rebecca Solnit made for the cities of New York and London. In the Barcelona version, the 153 stations that make up the project are symbolically re-named with names of women referring to the past and current history of the city. It is a small token representing all women that are part of the history of the city and are often whitewashed in the public eye or in popular memory. 

The result is a diverse and transversal cartography that puts in value and visibility a series of women that have played a relevant role in the city. A diverse selection of relevant women from the past, but also from the present and future of Barcelona. Intellectuals and writers such as Mercè Rodoreda stand out; anonymous historical figures such as Josefa Vilaret who initiated the “rebomboris del pa” revolt in the Raval of the late 18th century; current important athletes such as footballer Alexia Putelles; neighbourhood activists such as Custòdia Moreno, artists such as Carmen Amaya; scientists such as Josefina Castellví; historic anti-fascist fighters such as Maria Salvó; anti-colonialist feminist activists such as Remei Sipi; icons of the trans fight such as Sonia Rescalvo; and artists from the iconic Paral·lel such as Mary Santpere, Raquel Meller and Bella Dorita, among others.

After the speeches, the actresses Àgata Roca and Marta Pérez, of the T de Teatre company, closed the act with a poetry performance. T de Teatre began in 1991, with the reading of Little Tales of Misogyny by Patricia Highsmith, which fascinated them with their irony and mordacity. 

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