To celebrate International Women’s Day, Black Women Rising held a photoshoot to go with our campaign, Celebrating Trailblazing Women of Colour in Healthcare. We spoke to five women working in the healthcare industry about inequalities they face and what they are doing to change things.
It is unfortunately a common theme among women of colour, that they feel as if they are not being heard and seen in the healthcare field. Symptoms being wrote off, being told there is nothing wrong, or being made to feel less important than others are what many women have experienced, and this is what needs to change.
Women should feel confident in knowing that their concerns about their health will be taken seriously. However, it can be hard to feel that way in an environment where there are very few people who look like you. It is for this reason that better representation is crucial in helping support women of colour.
That is why the work that these five women are doing needs to be highlighted and celebrated as they are working tirelessly to give a voice to those who are not being heard.
At our photoshoot we spoke to each woman about struggles in the healthcare industry and the resounding point was the lack of representation in the healthcare industry, and not just for the patients but for those working in the field as well.
Queen-Valencia Zulu, a Urology MacMillan Cancer Support Coordinator said, “There’s not many people in industry that advocate for us, we’re pretty much at the bottom of the food chain when it comes to healthcare. If no one looks like you in a room, it’s unlikely that someone will help you. That’s the truth.”
Jean Ambrose who works as a Cancer Support Group Facilitator said, “As women of colour we can relate to each other, we have had the same struggles and therefore have an understanding of what each other is going through.”
But it wasn’t all negative things these ladies had to say. They also mentioned the happiness and joy they feel being able to be that support or source of comfort for patients. Sarah Adomah, a Lead Breast Clinical Nurse Specialist said, “It is a real pleasure to make patients to feel at ease, they know they can talk to you, and you will understand and be able to support them.”
For women of colour looking to get into the healthcare industry, there were some pearls of wisdom given from the ladies. Sigourney Bonner, CEO of Black in Cancer and a PhD student says, “Remember that you are able and you have unique perspective that is truly needed.”
Dr Natalie Johnson, a Breast & Oncoplastic Surgeon went on to add, “Ceilings are being broken, doors are opening, and table are being made for people like you.”
It is so important to encourage and celebrate women not just on International Women’s Day but every day. We are our biggest supporters, our biggest champions and together our voices can be heard around the world. This is what we aim to do every day at Black Women Rising through our campaigns, support groups and events. We will continue to push boundaries, demand more support for women of colour and encourage these conversations to be had at every level.
Be sure to look for our campaign for International Women’s Day on social media. Please like, share, tag so that we can continue to send this message and unite as many women as possible.
Happy International Women’s Day!