Insurance group Southern Cross has announced it is investing in a charity that supports women working in medicine and health.
According to the firm, while more than 80% of the NZ health workforce are women, research shows that they have greater difficulty than men in accessing mentors and professional support.
“This connection is critical, given the gender pay gap in medicine and health, discrimination, under-representation of women in leadership positions, and the higher rates of burnout and suicide of female doctors,” the insurer said.
Now, Southern Cross Health Trust is providing registered charity Wāhine Connect with a funding boost. Health Trust chief executive officer Terry Moore said Wāhine Connect has proven to be highly successful by connecting female health professionals with knowledgeable mentors.
“A key purpose of the Health Trust is to invest in the training of New Zealand’s health workforce, so we are always looking for new ways to further support the more than 1,500 female health professionals we employ across our wholly-owned and joint venture facilities,” Terry noted.
While the amount was not disclosed, Wāhine Connect Trust founder and chair Dr Rumball-Smith said the funding from the Health Trust and other sponsors will provide administration support and further develop the programme, enabling it to reach more women.
“We have consistently received positive feedback from participants, with mentors and mentees rating the matching process as high quality and both parties finding it a valuable experience,” Rumball-Smith noted. “In the long-term, we hope to expand Wāhine Connect to other professions, such as law and engineering.”
Wāhine Connect was established by Rumball-Smith in mid-2017. It aims to facilitate personal and career support to women through its peer network, mentoring programme, and webinar events.