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Med Tech industry goes after more gender diversity

Gender diversity within the medical technology industry has come under the spotlight as a leading body in the field works to address the under-representation of women.

The Medical Technology Association of Australia (MTAA), which represents companies in the industry, commissioned an ongoing skills study that highlighted gender diversity as a major issue. The association has since established the Women in MedTech initiative to help address this. MTAA chief executive Susi Tegen said the initiative includes a series of events and educational forums designed to increase gender diversity by providing insightful, informative content and networking.

“The medical technology industry, which includes over 500 medical technology companies with a combined turnover of almost $12 billion, employs over 19,000 people," Tegen said. "Women hold only 12 per cent of key management roles.”

Tegen added that while some figures have improved over the past four years, further progress is needed.

“I believe there's a heightened awareness across all industries," she said. "However, we now need to make sure it is systemically incorporated into the way companies work and also [that there is] a cultural change so people are more aware of providing opportunities for both genders.”

The sex discrimination commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick, who spoke at the launch of the initiative, commended the move, saying it is vitally important that industries unite to tackle the issue of gender diversity in Australia.

Broderick said: “Gender equality contributes to better functioning organisations and businesses, better financial results, improved decision-making, reduced turnover and [use of] the best talent.

MTAA chairman Gavin Fox-Smith said the initiative would help the industry tap into a rich diversity of talent, passion and capability, to bring excellence in the healthcare sector. Following the completion of the skills study, MTAA plans to work to launch a new professional development and training program across the industry, helping individual companies focus on opportunities for female leaders and staff working in medical technology.

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