This year’s International Women’s Day, we celebrate the progress made toward gender equity, while acknowledging that there is still so much more to be done.
Policies that require companies with over 100 employees to publicly report their pay gap are moving us in the right direction. But, Australia’s gender inequity gap is widening and according to the World Economic Forum, Australia has dropped to 50th on the global gender gap index. It will take a staggering 200 years to close the pay gap.
For the Monash Centre for Health Research and Implementation (MCHRI) and the Advancing Women in Healthcare Leadership (AWHL) project, IWD is not about cupcakes and morning teas – as great as these are for bringing people together to raise awareness.
“Our research and implementation projects are working year-round to improve women’s career opportunities and equity, which is critically linked to women’s wellbeing and health”, said Professor Helena Teede, CI of AWHL and Director of MCHRI.
Australian women are poorer than men and have poorer health than men
The burden of caring escalated during COVID and job losses and financial insecurity intensified – 80 per cent of superannuation withdrawals from major providers during COVID-19 were by women.
Research by MCHRI and associates showed that almost one in five women aged between 55 and 64 reported high mental distress – the highest group than any other age group, a dramatic rise that is closely linked to financial insecurity.
MCHRI’s 2022 National Women’s Health and Wellbeing Scorecard showed that women have poorer health outcomes than men. Poor health is known to reduce income, and low income is known to increase the risk of poor health – creating a vicious cycle of disadvantage for Australian women.
“Equity and diversity in leadership leads to improved and more equitable health, social justice and healthcare outcomes. We deliver the Women in Leadership Program, a three-day course encouraging and supporting women in career development and leadership, with a focus on healthcare. This International Women’s Day we are pleased to offer two funded scholarship places and encourage you to apply”,
said Professor Teede.
What are we doing to improve women’s equity?
AWHL is an NHMRC and partner-funded national initiative with 15 partners across professional, medical and nursing colleges, industrial bodies, leading health services, government, and academia – building the evidence and creating tools for implementation to improve gender equity and advance women’s careers.
Importantly, this initiative focuses on what organisations can do to drive equity and change, acknowledging that the burden for change should not sit with individual women. While its focus is healthcare leadership, outcomes will be applicable to other industries.
What can organisations do to improve equity?
The AWHL initiative has identified WHAT (1) organisations can do, and HOW (2) organisations can improve intervention outcomes to progress women’s careers and advance women in leadership.
It starts with organisational leadership, commitment and accountability. This is a key driver for change and for developing an inclusive leadership culture. Strategies to utilise are grouped around five areas:
- Organisational processes, practives and policies addressing structural barriers an gender biases
- Awareness and engagement, with methods that publicise and promote organisational challenges and solutions related to gender equity and improve workplace culture.
- Mentoring and networking opportunities for women to build networks and identify mentors
- Leadership development opportunities that equip women with self-confidence and contain actionable follow up
- Support tools that ensure recruitment, retention and promotion are free from gender bias. (1)
What interventions work to advance women?
Successfully implementing and embedding organisational change also requires:
- Leadership commitment and accountability.
- Intervention fit where consideration should be given to indvidual personal beliefs, preferences, experiences, capabilities or life circumstances,
- Cultural climate and organisational readiness for change. (2)
What can you do?
You can sign up for updates from Advancing Women in Healthcare Leadership to learn about the toolbox that is still under development, and share updates with your organisation.
Register to attend the Women in Leadership Program – 7 courses are being offered in 2023.
IWD2023 | Two funded scholarship places available in the Women in Leadership Program
To celebrate this International Women’s Day, the Advancing Women in Healthcare Leadership initiative and MCHRI are offering two women the opportunity to attend the Women in Leadership Program this year, free of charge.
- Currently in a leadership position and looking to enhance your skills?
- Thinking about moving into leadership but not quite sure if it’s for you?
- Uncertain about your career development
This three-day program is being offered 7 times in 2023, with online and in-person options.
To be considered for this opportunity, you must:
- Work in an Australian health service or academic/research/education institution
- Tell us in 150 words or less why you would like to attend the Women in Leadership Program.
The AWHL executive team will select one person from a health service and one person from academia/research. Successful applicants will be contacted via email. Submissions close at 5pm AEDT Wednesday 8 March.