The month of March is Women’s History Month, with a special spotlight on International Women’s Day. As a young woman in healthcare public relations, and part of a growing entity, I sit back and think what this movement means not only to me, but my female colleagues and the clients we work with in the space. International Women’s Day is the beginning of a year-long effort to bring pressing gender-equality issues to light across the world. This year’s theme of #BalanceforBetter includes a wide range of issues like gender bias, social justice, discrimination and advancement to leadership with one goal in mind – creating a gender-balanced world. It sounds possible and, in my small world as an Account Manager at Matter, I do recognize change is happening – in my field and my clients.
At Matter, we do not set limitations on growth if you are male or female. Matter focuses on many qualities to bring someone on board. Primarily, if you put in the effort and if you care about the results you are driving for your clients, you will be recognized. I have been with Matter for just over four years and in my short career here, I have been given numerous opportunities for growth that have positively shaped my experience working at Matter and my entire career trajectory. More specifically, the opportunity to focus on one industry – healthcare.
While Matter offers a range of industry experts, over the past few years, I have had the opportunity to focus solely on healthcare. It’s been a passion of mine since I started in PR over eight years ago, and it continues to be a driving force for my growth at Matter. Recently, we launched our official Matter Health brand. It’s an exciting milestone for the company but also myself as a manager on our healthcare team. Being part of a growing division at Matter and in an area of public relations that by nature is competitive, complex and behind the times, challenges my skills and experience every day. As women in healthcare PR, we challenge ourselves and the industry to listen to what we have to say, learn a difficult subject matter and foster growth for other PR gals to follow.
Outside of Matter’s culture, we work with many strong, young female entrepreneurs and executives. Although women make up the majority of the healthcare workforce, they head only 4% of healthcare companies, according to a Rock Health report. Working with a handful of female leaders, all under 40 years old, is extremely inspiring not only to the future of healthcare but also the future of female leadership and gender equality.
Unlike PR – where women make up 65% of the workforce – healthcare is historically male dominated. From the doctors on staff, to the C-suite and advisory board members, it can be difficult for women in this field to be seen. I am certainly not knocking on the work our male counterparts have done. Major strides and innovative solutions have come from male leadership. With that said – and keeping in mind our goal for gender-equality – the lack of female CEOs is an issue. A recent Oliver Wyman report found that 80 percent of decisionmakers in the U.S. healthcare workforce are women and 65 percent of women in C-suite healthcare positions. Those are promising numbers however, only 13 percent make it to CEO.
Our female-led clients like ZappRx, CarePort Health, and Ixcela have faced and continue to face challenges associated with being a woman leader in health care. As their organizations continue to thrive, our team is tasked with highlighting not only the work they are doing within the organization and for health care, but applauding their leadership as a young, female entrepreneur. Over the course of the past year, we have generated buzz to highlight their accomplishments including features in Forbes, NECN CEO Corner, Thrive Global, Chief Executive, Becker’s Healthcare and 103.3 AMP Radio, to name a few. In today’s competitive media landscape, feature stories are few and far between, but the innovative minds and work our female clients are accomplishing certainly makes our job easier. People want to celebrate female successes and wins, and, as healthcare PR professionals, we make that celebration even more substantial through the media.
As we look towards the year ahead, Matter will be laser-focused on creating an equal workplace as well as continue to seek out women-led organizations to work with. Personally, it’s inspiring to connect with women truly making a difference, not only in healthcare by making this complex space more effective, but also by bridging the gender-equality gap and showing the power female-driven organizations have on our society.