February 3rd has been designated as National Women Physician Day. A time to celebrate our female colleagues, healthcare providers and those that give of their time, skills and compassion, to ensure the health of millions of patients across our nation each day. No doubt the strides our past and current generations of women have made in healthcare as physicians, stand as powerful examples to upcoming generations of hard work, breaking down barriers and dedication to a profession.
As a women-owned business, DataFile salutes the thousands of women who have chosen to practice medicine across not only our country, but around the world! Janine Akers, DataFile CEO, offers her perspective on learning from the examples of fellow females, and how hard work and dedication should be celebrated and leaders should be praised, not because they are women, but for their contribution to making our society better by that hard work, leadership and passion.
Akers shares: “Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell was the first female to graduate from medical school in the United States. She was a pioneer in promoting the education of women in medicine and faced formidable adversity throughout her career. Her accomplishments are inspiring and monumental; they should be celebrated because she did it and encouraged others to follow in the name of advancing medicine; these accomplishments should not be celebrated JUST because she’s a woman. Many physicians in the early years of our country were the first of their families to attend college, the first to champion advancements in medicine. While some of these pioneers were women, some were men as well. And, we live better and longer because of these many accomplishments, both by women and by men. As I think about our many clients at DataFile and the many physicians in my community that I am able to also call friends, I am proud of each of them, men and women– equally. I realize the hard work they put in during medical school, the grueling hours of their residency programs, while many of their peers were starting careers and working traditional 8-to-5 hours; these leaders were not sleeping, not eating, and dedicating themselves to a life of service. I also recognize that these same people have made the choice to continue to sacrifice time with their families, sleep, balanced meals and put in long hours to ensure the health and well-being of the patients entrusted to their care. For that, I applaud and celebrate their accomplishments.
As a female CEO, working in HealthIT, which is sometimes labeled a “man’s world”, I take a slightly different perspective on gender and celebrated accomplishments. In my role, I do not want to be known as a “female colleague”; I want to be known as a colleague who is kind, fair, smart, and with a sense of humor. A colleague who lives her passion every day and ensures that she is always making decisions to the best of her ability, ones that will positively impact the lives of her employees and inspire future generations to not be afraid to speak up, be passionate and work hard. In a time where many are seeking labels and groups of individuals in society, while I celebrate my fellow females, I also realize that if we continue to think about our colleagues as being “male” or “female”, we will continue to perpetuate potential gender inequalities. If we see each other as partners, collaborators, leaders, team members, regardless of gender, it is then that we perpetuate equality. Having three daughters, I look ahead and hope they are able to find passion in their careers and their lives, experience equality in their work environment and work hard to contribute to their community.”