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Mayo Clinic joins fight against sexual discrimination in healthcare

Mayo Clinic joins fight against sexual discrimination in healthcare

“Time’s up” on sexual discrimination and inequality in healthcare.

A coalition of industry partners, including Mayo Clinic, are backing a new initiative aimed at addressing discrimination and harassment in healthcare. The effort is an offshoot of the nonprofit, Time’s Up, which was founded by Hollywood stars in response to the #metoo movement.

Dr. Gianrico Farrugia, president and CEO of Mayo, said the organization’s participation in the initiative demonstrates its commitment toward preventing sexual harassment and gender inequity.

“We want to protect and support those who are targets of harassment and discrimination, and we'll work to continue cultivating an environment of mutual respect,” Farrugia said in a statement.

In signing on to the initiative, Mayo acknowledges that “every staff member should have equitable opportunity and support and be compensated fairly.” The Rochester-based hospital system has also pledged to track and measure sexual harassment and gender-based inequities — and take “appropriate steps to respond to issues and prevent them from happening.”

By some national estimates, 30 percent of women physicians have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace; that number is closer to 50 percent when it comes to female medical students.

The issue is so prevalent that, according to Time’s Up, claims from healthcare workers have accounted for the second highest amount of requests submitted to them since their defense fund launched in 2018.

Additionally, sexual discrimination continues to hinder career opportunities for female professionals. While women make up 80 percent of healthcare workers, they hold only 11 percent of CEO positions.

By banding together, members of Time’s Up Healthcare hope to make sexual discrimination a central and visible issue. In addition to advocating for better workplace standards, the initiative will also improve the ability of limited-resource and low-income workers to obtain legal aid.

Dr. Sharonne Hayes, professor of cardiovascular medicine and director of diversity and inclusion at Mayo, is among the leading healthcare professionals who have come on as founding members of Time’s Up Healthcare. In a tweet last week, Hayes said she “and a whole lotta others” are prepared to take on sexual abuse and discrimination of all types.

"Our differences are our strengths, not our weaknesses,” she wrote.

You can learn more about Time’s Up Healthcare here. We have also included a video, embedded below, released by the nonprofit that features a number of men in healthcare showing support for their female colleagues.

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