As a health organisation that specialises in information technology, eHealth NSW experiences many of the same challenges as other ICT organisations regarding female representation in its workforce. The eHealth NSW Gender Equality Action Plan is making great progress in creating opportunities for women to leverage existing skills, develop new capabilities and build stronger networks.
Launched in 2018, the Gender Equality Action Plan seeks to attract, internally grow, and develop women in senior management and leadership roles across eHealth NSW. Central to the plan is access to development programs and networking opportunities.
Programs to help develop careers
The eHealth NSW Women’s Development Series, run in partnership with UGM Consulting, was launched in November 2018 and has two programs – one to build foundational leadership skills and the other to build senior and executive leadership skills - enabling women to build skills at different stages of their career journeys.
As part of the Series, participants in both programs are asked to establish a Community of Practice (CoP). Participants in the pilot program, elected to establish a permanent eHealth NSW Women’s Leadership Community of Practice (WLCoP). The CoP is open to all women and provides a network to empower women to grow, inspire, influence and lead.
The WLCoP is leading a Women’s Mentoring Program and a Networking Program, supported by working groups. As part of the mentoring program, drop-in mentoring sessions have been offered, as well as informal 1:1 coffee mentoring sessions. A formal mentoring program is set to launch this month, with 17 mentors and 17 mentees. As part of the networking program, two to three networking events are run each month, with excellent feedback and a net promoter score between 63 and 80.
Mentoring and networking go hand in hand
In March, the WLCoP worked with representatives from across eHealth NSW to mark International Women’s Day (IWD). This year’s event celebrated the United Nations theme of Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.
It acknowledged the significant efforts of women and girls in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, with a wide range of presenters, including Jill Ludford, Chief Executive, Murrumbidgee Local Health District, who delivered the keynote address.
Jill spoke about the impact COVID-19 and bushfires had on her leadership, professional and personal life – and the Murrumbidgee LHD, staff and local community. Other presenters included Aunty Ann Weldon, a proud Wiradjuri woman and Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council board member; Dr Margaret Byrne, a researcher, executive development coach and change management expert; Claire Barber, Women’s Resilience Centre director and CEO of Mary’s House Services; and barrister and former Victorian crown prosecutor Sharn Coombes.
COVID-19 has exacerbated many, if not all, of the gender disparities that already existed within societies across the globe and women have disproportionately been affected. In Australia, many of our frontline healthcare and support workers, and leaders, are women and have been at the forefront of navigating our response to the pandemic.
As a result of the pandemic, the delivery of mentoring and networking initiatives and the Women’s Development Series has gone virtual. Expressions of Interest will soon be sought for the next cohort of the Women’s Development Series. For further information please contact EHNSW-PeopleAndCulture@health.nsw.gov.au.
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