Embracing Equity this International Women’s Day

Ahead of International Women’s Day tomorrow, I’ve been spending some time thinking about the brilliant women who have helped make the practice what it is today.

I’ve spent my career surrounded by exceptional females – from friends to colleagues and patients too. Every day. I am inspired by the women (and of course men too) around me, and its these people that have helped us build the practice that you see today. Since way before I first started the Dr Sophia Khalique Medical Practice Marylebone, I’ve been passionate about the idea of celebrating individuality, so making sure that it is reflected in both our medical ethos and our culture is something I’ve always put front and centre. In the team, we have staff who are British, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Indian, Brazilian, Somalian and Egyptian (to name a few), we have colleagues from all different faiths, cultures and sexualities, and as part of our corporate sponsorship and partnership focus, we look to extend our support out to other organisations that champion people from all different social and economic backgrounds too – from The Independent Doctors Federation (IDF) to The Unity of Faiths Foundation (TUFF.earth).

A culture that celebrates individuality is one that I’ve personally found empowering to be part of, and one that really encourages us to think in the most emphatic way about the team and their needs. Speaking personally, I’ve been able to bring up three wonderful children whilst balancing working life because of it – and to be able to do the job that I love at the same time as raising my kids is something I feel lucky to have been able to do.

At the same time, I genuinely believe that having a diverse team enables us to give the best possible experience to our patients. As a women, for example, I can approach a conversation with a patient about family planning, pregnancy or even menopause not just from a position of medical knowledge, but from experience too, and I hope that helps my patients feel not just listened to, but really heard.

This International Women’s Day, we are being asked to #embraceequity – to strive towards creating a world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination where, in the words of IWD’s organisers, “difference is valued and celebrated”. It’s a theme that resonates with me – as really – equity is all about recognising people’s different circumstances and experiences and taking steps to provide a truly level playing field for everyone. In the healthcare industry that really is more important than ever.

So to mark this year’s International Women’s Day, I’d like to take the opportunity to thank the individuals who I work with day in and out who embrace equity day in and out. You really do help make us the best we can possibly be.