We need more Women in Health IT

Posted on: 21.10.2016 Tags:

ehealth

WoHIT

Women in Health IT

A recent study published by HIMSS highlighted that women professionals in Health IT receive a lower salary than their men colleagues for doing the same job. In 2006 women were getting paid 81% of men’s salary. Ten years after the gap has grown and women are paid only 78% for doing the same jobs. The private sector shows the greatest salaries disparities, paying women IT professionals just 67% what paid men to do the same work. 

It is hard to believe that this is happening in a supposedly civilised and democratic society. The sad truth is that gender inequalities persist in our society and the professional field is just one example.

I am surrounded by real life examples of gender inequalities at work.

Just a couple of days ago I was talking to a friend that is experiencing such situation. She is a brilliant communications professional working for a digital health start-up in Barcelona. She is developing the busi­ness and finding clients for an innovative platform targeting the pharma industry. She has been working hard for two years and thanks to her the company has gained some clients. But she feels undervalued by her men colleagues and she will struggle to get her deserved bonus. I asked her: “Does this lack of recognition has anything to do with the fact that you are a woman?” “Absolutely”, she said.

Another example happened in Twitter two weeks ago. Spanish science journalist Ángela Bernardo (@maberalv) was insulted for pointing out that most Nobel Prize winners are men despite the fact that there many women that deserve the award. She complained to Twitter Spain but nothing was done to stop the stalkers.

This is unacceptable but it is still happening.

New winds in the IT sector

Traditionally the IT field has been very masculine. But I am starting to see new winds blowing in the right direction. As a healthcare journalist I see more and more women interested in technology; they are new role models that will inspire young girls to follow their dreams. More young women are starting a career in technology or founding their own companies. Many in the field of digital health. Many of them building apps or digital health solutions with a gender perspective.

We need more women in the sector, more professionals willing to make a difference and to inspire other women to follow this path. With this goal HIMSS Europe has announced the launch of a Women in Health IT Community aimed at giving women a platform to share experiences and enable them to work together to close gender gaps. The Community will be officially launched during the World of Health IT congress (WoHIT) in Barcelona on 21st and 22nd of November.

To start making noise and putting some names on the map HIMSS Europe has organised a tweet chat (#eHealthChat) that will try to answer this question: “Is there a shortage of women professionals in Health IT?” We would like you to join us – whether you are a man or a woman - the 2nd of November at 6pm (CET) to give us your view. The tweet chat will be moderated by HIMSS Europe Public Affairs VP Christina Roosen (@croosen), and Play Benefit CEO and founder Anna Sort (@LostNurse).

Let’s start working towards gender equality at work. 

Teresa Bau

Healthcare Communications Consultant, Spain

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