Recently, I was privileged to be sat on ABHI’s Women in Leadership ‘Industry Perspectives’ panel alongside many inspiring women in health tech. We were speaking to a crowd of 60 delegates -
Joining me on the panel were the likes of Catherine Davies, Director of the Digital Healthcare Council; Anna Lodge, Director of Corporate Operations at South West AHSN; and Deborah Eastwood, President at BOA and UCL Professor of Paediatric Orthopaedic Surgery at Great Ormond Street and the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospitals. During the event, we discussed
Whilst we have come a long way in terms of gender equality, we still have much more to do to achieve gender parity within the sector. One of the points I wanted to make, was the need for women to ‘proceed until apprehended’. Imposter syndrome can be a significant barrier. We must support our peers to adopt a ‘yes I can’ mindset, rather than letting doubt hold us back,
When looking at the health tech industry overall, the workforce gender disparity is similar to the imbalance found in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) industry only one in five people working in health tech[i] identifies as female. A recent survey conducted by the ABHI asked females working in health tech what the most important factors for achieving leadership success were. They found that work-life balance and flexibility were considered the most important (56%), with organisational culture and values close behind (47%). Interestingly, diversity and inclusion measures were ranked last at just 6%.
Women often have many obstacles to overcome to reach leadership roles. This includes patriarchal structures, sexism, and gender stereotypes. These issues are often enabled by outdated approaches to mentoring and support.
To drive change within the health tech industry we must:
Improve access to quality mentoring and coaching that supports and elevates women in health tech.
Support better work life balance models which ensure parents or carers of any gender are not left behind in their career.
Recognise and align with generational change by increasing industry outreach to women of all ages.
Increase awareness of the menopause. Ensure that those experiencing it receive adequate support and understanding at all stages of their career.
We must proceed until apprehended. We must work together to limit barriers to leadership and support our peers across both health tech and the wider professional ecosystem.