On creative work/life balance solutions, and fighting for my daughter’s future success.

I’m pretty pumped about this powerful conference, Career Advancement and Leadership Skills Conference for Women in Healthcare that just ended. Anyone in healthcare who seeks advancement OR who makes decisions about the advancement of others can benefit greatly, so check it out for next year.

I even missed one of the three days, and it was still well-worth the investment. I would have also missed the last morning of lectures today, Saturday, because Hubby had a work event to attend. Neither of our events were traditionally kid-friendly: Children are generally not welcome to CME conferences held at nice hotels, nor to radio station sponsor promotions held in bars. But we decided to each risk taking one kid to our work events, rather than one of us having to cancel.

And so Maria sat next to me for a full five hours of lectures this morning, and Gio bellied up to the bar while Hubby emceed a “Flick Football” tournament. And it worked out, which is a win for creative work/life balance solutions!

Which is a large part of what this career conference was about. Some may ask, Why focus on women? Why not women AND men? That’s not fair.

Well, lemme tell you what’s not fair. Dr. Sareh Parangi, a pioneer surgeon and champion for equality in medicine, presented this data, based on several studies of doctor’s salaries. Basically, across every single medical specialty, and even when the numbers were adjusted to take into account every imaginable excuse (like, “women work part-time” et cetera), male doctors earn more. Alot more. Over the course of a career, this income disparity can run into the millions:

Gross gender pay gap data, presented by Dr. Sareh Parangi
More gross gender pay gap data, presented by Dr. Sareh Parangi

But why is this? Course director, researcher, author, and just all-around badass physical medicine and rehab physician Dr. Julie K Silver has loads of info on this, but this gem of a slide stood out because it’s so damn true. There’s a ton of good data and published research on this problem, and yet so many people persist in using the same false excuses (It must be because women have less training or fewer qualifications; or because they tend to work part-time; or because they don’t work hard enough; et cetera blah blah):

Some of the reasons the gender pay gap persists: Excuses, excuses

So how do we change things? So much of the conference was about this, all the very practical, do-able, actionable, powerful things that can be done for our own advancement, as well as eradicating gender bias and discrimination.

If you want to know more, you’ll have to check out all the tweets from the conference (check out #SheLeadsHealthcare and #SheLeads2018), register for next year… OR read and share the well-written, painstakingly researched report Dr. Silver and team published: the Be Ethical white paper, which is meant to be downloaded and widely disseminated, particularly to practice and hospital leaders. As Dr. Silver explains:

“With its unusually large proportion of highly educated and qualified women, medicine should be leading the way in gender equity. Leaders who have it within their power to address barriers to the advancement of women — and all underrepresented people — should behave ethically and resolve to act, expeditiously and with steadfastness.”

Yes, I am definitely committed to my career advancement, as well as eradication of gender bias and discrimination. Maria’s future success depends on all of this. Here she is, reading quietly at hour five of this morning’s talks:

A side note and book recommendation: In this photo, Maria’s reading a comic-book style book called Be Prepared (author Vera Brosgol), which is about a school-aged girl dealing with being culturally different, ignored and/or bullied by the popular girls, and then learning how to find her own strengths and make real friends. These tough but true themes were described and illustrated very well, with plenty of humor, engaging and entertaining. This is the second time Maria’s read the book, which she picked out herself! I think it fits with the conference theme. 

I’ve pasted the first page of the Be Ethical white paper executive summary below, meant to be a teaser. Think about downloading the whole report, and sharing. It’s not just for us and our careers and success, it’s for our daughters’ as well:

“Women account for the majority of the healthcare workforce; however, a large body of research demonstrates unaddressed or poorly addressed disparities. The Be Ethical Campaign is a call to action for healthcare leaders to recognize that workforce gender equity is an ethical imperative and to take action to bring about change. Studies show that women in medicine get less pay for equal work, are promoted less frequently, have fewer opportunities to publish, and receive less recognition than their male counterparts. Gender disparities are discouraging women from reaching their full professional potentials. They must contend with biased language and behavior in everyday interactions with some colleagues and in more formal communications, such as interviews, evaluations, and recommendations. Too many endure sexual and other harassment. Being underpaid, undervalued, and disrespected contributes to burnout symptoms. An environment that does not treat women fairly compromises excellence in patient care and the advancement of medical research. Traditional approaches to achievement of gender equity have not worked well enough. Leaders often point to anecdotal successes rather than system wide changes that can be quantified. A comprehensive scientific approach utilizing data analysis is the surest path toward workforce equity. This will require leaders to commit to prioritization, funding, implementation of metrics, and reporting of outcomes…”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.