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Women in HealthTech launched

A sold-out audience of 80 women and men attended the first event of the newly formed Women in HealthTech organisation in Auckland this month.

The group’s aim is, ‘to empower women and diversity to flourish at all levels of the HealthTech industry by making culture change within organisational opportunities and leadership’.

The group is a collaboration between NZ Health IT, the Medical Technology Association of NZ, the Consortium for Medical Device Technologies and Medical Technologies Centre of Research Excellence, which together represent more than 200 companies from across the country.

At the launch event ‘Breaking through Bias’ held on 10 April, founding member of WiHT and chair of NZHIT Kate Reid said both small and large organisations can struggle to attract and retain a diverse workforce.

The new group plans to “challenge the status quo” by promoting language and tools to attract a more diverse workforce and creating resources to help organisations become more aware of unconscious bias and embracing diversity of their employees.

“We were all in our own member membership organisations thinking about putting together something for women in technology and we decided to join together and align what we are doing,” she told attendees.

“This is a special opportunity to do something at scale and create a momentum for change.”

Another key strategy of the group is to provide visibility of women in leadership roles in the sector as well as connecting and mentoring women to support and learn from each other.

Reid says there are already a number of successful programmes, such as the Wahine Connect mentoring programme for women in medicine and health, that WiHT is looking to support.

Guest speaker Bev Cassidy-McKenzie, director at Diversity, said many people do not take traditional pathways into the workforce nowadays and organisations wanting to promote diversity need to embrace that.

Fellow guest speaker Catherine Mohr spoke about her journey through “several professions where there’s no line in the women’s bathroom” to become the vice president of strategy at Intuitive Surgical, which makes the da Vinci Surgical System.

Reid says the plan is to hold regular events and mix them up in terms of style.

The next event is on 3 July in Auckland as part of HealthTech week.


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