The World Economic Forum forecasts that it will take more than two centuries for women and men to reach economic and social parity in the United States. In many parts of the healthcare workforce, the data is even worse – and racial and other biases make the data even more sobering.
Striving for change
The aim of the Carol Emmott Foundation is to ensure that women in healthcare are free to fully advance their careers and promote positive health outcomes. Our fellows have learned a few new techniques to move the needle:
1.) Believe you should have a seat at the table
Your contribution is essential to the health of patients and the quality of care they receive. Many gender disparities in care will only be overcome if women participate in the decision-making.
2.) Understand that your self-doubts don’t help
Nearly all our remarkably accomplished fellows exhibit the pervasive self-doubt called the “impostor phenomenon.” Their self-assessments are a fraction of how others evaluated them. Give yourself credit.
3.) Engage and make yourself heard
Know that you will have to work harder to be listened to. Be confident that your perspective is unique and can reflect a rarely heard perspective of patients and families.
4.) Create a peer network of support and amplify the voices of other women
Find a group of friends and colleagues who have your back. Women find it more natural to stand together and support one another – and it is more fun.
5.) Build a personal board of directors
We all need honest feedback and benefit from having a small group of men and women who are in our corner. Invite people you look up to, respect, and trust – people who care about you. The most essential members of your board are your sponsors, those who are willing to vouch for you. Ask for their help, use their time wisely, and listen.
6.) Recruit partners for support
Some of us have supportive spouses, parents, or neighbors who pitch in to make our lives at work and home possible, and some do not. All women deserve to get the help they need.
7.) When you move up, hold the door open for others
Any of us who have achieved success have done so with the help of many. Pay it forward by holding the door open for those who haven’t had the support, life circumstances, health, or luck that we have had. That is how we will shorten the two centuries to equity.
8.) Remember that when you help women, you lift society
The data is well-presented in Melinda Gates’ book, “The Moment of Lift,” and by the World Economic Forum. The largest untapped opportunity for GDP growth is the full participation of women.
I can’t wait two centuries. I can’t even wait one. Please join me in accelerating your own career to create a healthier future for yourself and for all.