How to Make a Women In Medicine Group
Many workplaces and residency programs have created Women in Medicine groups. Formats vary greatly. We recommend monthly, quarterly or bi-annual meeting. Frequency of meetings will depend on our groups’ needs and what is logistically feasible. Many groups choose a relaxed setting for some or all of the meetings such as someone’s home or a restaurant to promote a social component. For educational programs, such as medical schools or residency programs, consider inviting alumni. Alumni can offer perspective and may serve as mentors for more junior members. We have found that there is a lot of value in women sharing experiences throughout their career with each other.
Barriers and Issues to Consider:
Support and Buy-in: It is important to get buy in and support from leadership when establishing a women in medicine group. By being explicit about the intention of the group from the outset, you may be able to mitigate misunderstandings about the function of the group within your organization.
Finding a meeting time: We encourage working with departmental leadership to foster support and promote scheduling that allows for meeting attendance.
Finding a location: Off-campus events that are scheduled during off hours may discourage participation. For some groups, lunch meetings on-campus for some of the meeting may promote more attendance.
Messaging and explaining purpose: ”Isn’t this just a girls night? Why should the women get a night off?” When these comments are made, it may be beneficial to educate about the persistence of gender bias and the importance of groups to promote equity and career progression. We also recommend inviting men to meetings 1-2 times per year to allow men to hear the perspectives of the women and also to promote men becoming allies, mentors and sponsors to women in the workplace.