Today is a day to celebrate progress being made towards gender equity, to reflect on the bias and discrimination that still exists, and to look at the make positive changes we can make to support and empower women working in health and care.
I would like to start by saying that International Women’s Day is a single day that gives us at Bromley Healthcare an important opportunity to talk about the brilliant women working across the organisation and reflect on the progress we are making to foster belonging, inclusivity and equity. However I do not want this, and other important events that revolve around equity and inclusion, to be confined to a single day or month. It is important that we #EmbraceEquity every day of the year.
For me, both personally and in my role as Chief Executive at Bromley Healthcare, the work to embed equity and inclusion is continual and ever-present: it must be embedded into our strategic decisions, in the work we do every day and in our lives. I am pleased that we have called out Belonging as one of our new organisational values, and equity and inclusion is a key part of our new strategy, which will be launched in April 2023.
At Bromley Healthcare, I am proud to say that women make up 85% of our workforce. These brilliant women are working every day to provide care and support to the women within our communities, and empower people to live their fullest lives.
Since 1948, women have worked across all part of the NHS and public health, advancing medical and scientific knowledge, improving people’s care and treatment, and developing how services are delivered, often with a lack of recognition for their achievements. There have been many struggles for women working in health and social care, such as work/life balance, equality of pay and opportunity, stereotyping, harassment, efficient childcare support and equitable working.
Closing the gender pay gap is high on my agenda. Between 2018 and 2021, the gender pay gap at Bromley Healthcare has reduced from 26.17% to 16.83%. We are reviewing this year’s data, which I will talk about in more detail when we publish our 2022 Gender Pay Gap report in April. You can read our Gender Pay Gap Report 2021-22 here.
Across the NHS, more than 75% of all NHS staff are female, but women hold fewer than 50% of senior roles and women from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds are especially underrepresented (nhs70.org.uk). At Bromley Healthcare, I am immensely proud that over 83% of colleagues in senior roles are women. We have also made strides in ensuring that our Senior Leadership Team is becoming more representative of the diversity of our workforce and the communities that we care for.
This is due to several strategic programmes of work that we have prioritised. For example, over the past four years, we have introduced a number of new career development programmes to grow and empower female colleagues within the organisation, including apprenticeships and leadership programmes. In the last 2 years, 157 women have undertaken our leadership development programmes.
Whilst the gap may be narrowing, there is still a long way to go. At Bromley Healthcare, we will continue to prioritise flexible working, career progression for those in both full and part-time roles, and flexible training.
This isn’t just limited to women. I urge and support everyone at Bromley Healthcare to be allies in embracing equity: to recognise and challenge bias, foster a culture of belonging, support the advancement of those around them, and help make equity and inclusion a reality.