World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) 2018 will hold the ‘Women Leaders in Healthcare Circle’ meeting for the first time at the WISH 2018.
Some of the key topics that might be discussed during the meeting include ‘Why are highly-qualified women still vastly underrepresented in top-paying jobs? How is understanding the role of nature versus nurture key to closing the gender gap in the workplace? And how can the glass ceiling be shattered in the future?
Sultana Afdhal, chief executive officer, WISH, says, “Empowering women in the workplace is everyone’s responsibility, particularly women in the same field of practice. The vision for the Women’s Circle is to create a truly representative, global group of female leaders in health. We are hoping that discussions held by the group will help accelerate progress in solving some of the biggest challenges facing the health industry.”
Inaugural discussions will focus on setting priorities and identifying opportunities for female leaders, in a bid to correct gender imbalance and position women at the forefront of health innovation. The group that will convene at WISH includes a former president, ministers, CEOs, academics, leaders of NGOs and women with active roles in running some of the world’s largest national healthcare systems.
“Currently, although women make up the majority of the workforce in the healthcare sector, only 19% of hospital CEOs are female, and only 4% head up healthcare companies,” Afdhal says, quoting The State of Women in Healthcare report. “So, why does the glass ceiling still exist in the 21st century, and how can we overcome it? This will be a challenging task but an achievable one if all stakeholders join efforts.”
According to a 2017 survey of over 300 women in the healthcare industry, conducted by Rock Health, nearly half (45.4%) of respondents believe it will take 25 or more years until gender parity is achieved in the workplace, while only 7.5% say it will happen in the next five years. Worryingly, 16.1% of respondents say gender parity will never be accomplished.
“Through WISH Women’s Circle, we seek to devise a strategy to empower other women to take responsibility, and educate others to combat gender disparity,” Afdhal explains, adding that a female leader is responsible for balancing her responsibilities as an advocate for women’s rights while simultaneously focusing on advancing her career. To achieve this objective, Afdhal argues that some women must first address and overcome a number of obstacles and challenges. These will be the subject of thorough discussions at the WISH Women’s Circle.
The pros and cons of positive discrimination will be one of the topics up for debate by circle members, together with the so-called ‘Queen Bee Syndrome’ whereby female executives may perceive other women as a threat.
This year’s summit will feature 11 ‘Young Innovators’ from around the world who will be exhibiting their ingenious healthcare-related products, many of which serve to support poor and remote communities.
WISH 2018 will provide further opportunities for around 2,000 local and international healthcare experts, innovators, entrepreneurs, policymakers and ministers from more than 100 countries to explore areas of collaboration and work towards shaping the future of global healthcare.
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