Leveling up gender equality within Metro North

Senior doctors from across Metro North Health have thrown their support behind the Level Up initiative

Senior doctors from across Metro North Health have thrown their support behind the Level Up initiative.

Metro North Health have commenced an exciting new project aimed at promoting gender equality in the medical profession.

Level Up aims to support medical women in training to reach senior positions over the course of their career through providing mentoring, leadership development programs, and specific pathways for reporting discrimination.

Research has found that throughout Australia and the world, there is a marked reduction in the percentage of women represented at each career milestone in medicine, academia, law and finance.

Creating a gender diverse workforce is vital to the progression of medicine and patient care, with gender diversity across all workforce levels providing a range of benefits including improved health policy, increased productivity, maximised participation of the workforce and a healthier professional culture.

Metro North Health Chief Executive Adjunct Associate Professor Jackie Hanson said the launch of Level Up is an exciting and vital step for the health service.

“Level Up is about creating equal opportunities for medical women to reach senior roles, leveling up our perceptions, levelling up support and levelling up our response to gender representation,” Adjunct Associate Professor Jackie Hanson said.

“Data analysis has shown that within Metro North Health, women make up 51 per cent of the junior Resident Medical Officers, with this proportion decreasing to just 32 per cent of the senior Visiting Medical Officers.

“We know that fostering gender equality across all levels of medical professions will not only benefit women in medicine but will foster a higher quality of care for our patients.

“Metro North are committed to supporting women to succeed within our health service and hope we can inspire similar movements in heathcare facilities throughout Australia.”

The Metro North Medical Women in Training Working Group has been established to develop various initiatives associated with the project and consists of medical women at various stages of their careers, as well as other strong advocates for the cause.

Working Group Member and Metro North Deputy Executive Director Medical Services Dr. Leah Barrett-Beck said the group has been working closely with women in medicine to understand the challenges they face when progressing in their careers.

“As part of Level Up, we will be working to address a range of barriers experienced by women in medicine through increasing access to flexible and part-time work options, breaking stereotypes and preconceived ideas of leadership, increasing job security and more,” Dr. Barrett-Beck said.

“We have chosen to focus specifically on medical women in training as we have identified this as a particularly vulnerable point in medical women’s careers where significant life and professional changes collide.

“Throughout my career at Metro North, I’ve had access to flexible working and training opportunities and am fortunate to work in my Senior Staff Specialist role on a permanent part-time basis. I want to ensure these opportunities are available to every medical staff member within the health service.”

Initially, the Working Group have established a mentorship program and launched an awareness campaign. Future initiatives will be targeted around gender inclusivity training, leadership development programs, safe incident reporting and systemic monitoring and reporting on progress.

Metro North Health staff members who would like more information on Level Up are encouraged to search “Level Up” on QHEPS.