I had the distinct pleasure of moderating a dynamic panel discussion focusing on Women in Healthcare recently. The energy was palpable and the issues nearly universal.
There’s no doubt that women have made strides in virtually every profession but there’s still a double standard in medicine. The gap is narrowing, but it does exist. However, the panel focused on the positives of women in what is still a male dominated sector, and how gender is not an issue when it comes to dealing with work-life balance, office procedure, changes in medical care, and the legal issues that come with the territory.
For women in medicine, most were the first in their families to become doctors. So they are facing issues that many others may not have come across. For example, women physicians have noted that there is a glass ceiling. But there are ways to avoid it. Among the advice was: surround yourself with supporters; don’t be afraid to ask for help; find a mentor – be a mentor.
The reality is that women must help each other. No one works completely alone. Everyone is familiar with the phrase “It’s a boy’s club.” Well, it’s time for that to be supplemented by “It’s a girls – or women’s! – club.” Panelists suggested that instead of cigars and golf, ask your male colleagues to join in on a mani-pedi. It was said with humor – but also with a grain of truth.
It’s imperative that women in the health industry not sell themselves short, skill-wise and in terms of compensation. Part of the advice to “surround oneself with supporters” is to make sure those highly competent professionals such as lawyers and accountants have your back. Your economic power is a vital element – don’t be afraid to get the right pay.
For women in business – and health care is a business – it is important to set an example. The participants noted that as women gain strength, and proceed up the ladder, whether it’s corporate or personal, they need to help one another. Be someone else’s ‘contact.’ Be a role model by taking care of yourself, maintain integrity – and keep family and friend relationships strong.
The panel addressed many other topics including the expense of end of life care, and the importance of support from spouse. The overall sense was a positive vibe that women are a strong force in the healthcare world.
It’s not a remarkable formula – it’s a sensible one. But women need to keep these thoughts at the forefront as they continue to be a major part of the industry. Editor's Note:
The first Healthcare Roundtable
of the fall season took place at Five Star Premier Residences of Hollywood on Tuesday, September 29th from 7:30-9:30 am. Entitled Women in Medicine: Healers & Leaders
, this was the second annual event.