There are a great number of female professionals working in the field of Health IT: doctors, nurses, IT professionals, managers, policymakers and more… However, they do not always have the same recognition and opportunities than their male counterparts. It might be because they work in a traditionally masculine field or because they have to overcome more obstacles than male professionals to reach a leadership position.
eHealth pioneer Denise Silber (@health20Paris) believes that “The main challenge, which is a vicious circle, is being a minority in leadership positions. When a position is to be filled, whether it is a job or even a speaker’s role, it is more likely that the decision maker is a male, who knows more males than females. A second challenge is in being heard in a meeting and to ensure your idea is attributed to you and not to a male participant who repeated it after you.”
Danielle Siarri (@innonurse), a nursing informatics specialist, writer, and social media expert said: “The biggest challenge in being a woman in business is not letting others limitations become your own limitations. Sometimes others feel that they cannot meet their goals so, therefore, you cannot meet yours. The best opportunities come from building a network to collaborate with, find a like-minded community.”
Discovering the challenges women professionals face in Health IT
In the context of not receiving enough recognition, HIMSS Europe is determined to help women empower themselves as leaders in healthcare IT. HIMSS is conducting a short survey to determine what challenges women face and what opportunities they have leveraged along their career path. By understanding the issues and needs, the organisation will be in a strategic position to develop services and tools which help women further empower themselves as leaders in healthcare IT.
The results of the survey will be used to analyse the challenges and to find ways to overcome them.
Thus, we recommend you to answer the survey and to share it with your colleagues.
Tips from Women in Health IT
Meanwhile, here is some advice from Denise Silber and Danielle Siarri on how to navigate your profession:
Denise: “Network regularly with both men and women. Don’t just connect, but also follow-up. Try to get to know these people and don’t just use your connections for job-seeking. Also, belong to a women’s professional group like the “Healthcare Business Women’s Association”, which has branches around the world. Finally, if not first: identify what you love doing and go after it with full confidence!”
Danielle: “A young woman starting out must have an open mind. As you grow your career look for mentors and follow them online or in person. Look for supporters on your team, have business goals and milestones to present. Also, negotiate your pay and never feel you need to be 100% perfect for the role. Always own your brand and your image. Treat all online and offline interactions as a job interview.”
This article has been published in HIMSS Europe blog.