July 31, 2012
This week is the official week of Women in Health Care, as celebrated by Rock Health and their ‘XX in Health’ Initiative. Rock Health is a women-led health tech group—referring to themselves as an “incubator of innovation” on their website—that cultivates partnerships with Mayo Clinic, Harvard Medical School, and UCSF. The main objective of ‘XX in Health’ is to improve gender diversity in leadership positions in the health care sector.
Reflecting upon our own personal experiences in hospitals, clinics, and health care-related organizations, you might initially recall interacting mostly with women. According to Rock Health’s Rock Report, females represent 73% of medical and health services managers. So where exactly is the inequality? Well, as you ascend the chain of command (in terms of both power and salary), things begin to change. Only 32% of doctors and surgeons are female. As you make your way to the very top, something astounding happens: the number drops to 4% for health care CEOs.
This drastic negative correlation is the reason why we promote ‘XX in Health Care’ this week.
Health care isn’t the only science-related industry suffering from gender inequality; according to Energy.gov, only 11% of practicing engineers in 2011 were women. A small group of Ximedica’s female engineers recently visited Sophia Academy, an all-girls middle school here in Providence. In keeping with the ideas behind Rock Health’s ‘XX in Health Week’ and Ximedica’s own Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, this visit’s main intention was to advocate and discuss women in engineering with young girls. Jennifer Tulloch, a Design Assurance Engineer, shares their enlightening experience:
Having just concluded an engineering unit, the science teacher requested that we visit the classroom to demonstrate a few engineering concepts.
We led the girls in hands-on exercises with gears, electric circuit kits, and paper gliders, giving them an understanding on how clocks operate, how their battery powered devices function, and how to think creatively and methodically to solve a problem. The girls eagerly participated, answering questions and offering ideas, and specifically wanted to know what we were thinking and doing at their age. We were able to share own personal experiences about how we became engineers, and what or who inspired us along the way.
The girls are now armed with a depiction of what an engineer is; and with the amount of insight they already possess, they are well-equipped to stay ahead of the game. Below is work they subsequently created for us as a token of appreciation. You can see the engineer in each of them beginning to take shape!
Jennifer and the rest of our team noticed a thirst for innovation embedded in today’s young girls. No longer limited to electives such as home-ec (tactfully referred to in my high school as ‘family and consumer sciences’), students today are free to pursue just about anything. This environment fosters the development of unique ambitions, where girls feel comfortable shooting for career spots that are typically taken by men.
The Sophia Academy visit evoked a sense of progress, and the very real possibility that ‘XX in Health’ could eventually find parity. But until that time comes, we continue to celebrate Rock Health’s commemorative week – to learn more, visit their website.
To revisit the happenings of this year’s Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day.