In response to some valid remarks on gender balance in the program of our 2019 Congress, EFIC would like to share a few words on this important issue.

EFIC promotes women in pain science. For the first time, our next President will be a woman. Women are leading key projects of our Federation with regards to pain education, research promotion and advocacy. 9 out of our 20 core projects in education, research and advocacy are led by women. These include some of our most important projects, such as the development of our e-learning platform, the coordination of our clinical task forces, and the organisation of our research grant awards.

With regards to our scientific congress, regrettably, we had no policy in place to ensure gender balance in our program. We did not request that workshop proposers nor the scientific program committee take these issues into consideration when proposing sessions or judging the merits of each session, and therefore there are some omissions which we would like to avoid in future. We will be taking steps to ensure this is done consistently in future through a specific policy on the issue.

Currently, 67 of our proposed speakers are women, from a total of around 182 proposed workshops. This equates to just over 36% of the speakers. We have not yet confirmed all plenary speakers, but right now we are in line to confirm 3. This is from a total of 13. We will be working to improve this numbers with the remaining gaps on the plenary program.

We can do much better. EFIC will take proactive steps to avoid such imbalance and to ensure that EFIC stands for strong and fair representation of women in pain science, is reflected not only in the work and projects of the Federation but also in the composition of our biennial scientific program.