Our Time to Shine
My message to all existing and future Power List champions
Anat Loewenstein | | Opinion
The special October issue of The Ophthalmologist celebrates the Power List in general, but I would like to focus on the latest Power List, which highlighted the achievements of women in ophthalmology. I don’t think I’m overstating when I say that the 2021 Power List played a crucial role in reminding us how much women can contribute to our healthcare system, to our patients, and to the scientific community.
While reviewing the list again, I see all types of women – from various backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities, and ages – and each and every one of them are pillars of our ophthalmic community, whether in a leadership role in industry, academia, or a medical center. What the list emphasizes to me is the importance of celebrating our own achievements. A woman in a leadership role has successfully juggled through education, research, clinical work, and personal life – and it’s worth shouting about from the rooftops.
The 2021 Power List is a very important step in women’s empowerment. It gives credit and recognition not only to female leaders, but also to the promising physicians in their early careers.
I believe that all of us – regardless of gender – need to continue the path to equality by taking proactive measures, such as implementing mentorship programs in each organization, and raising awareness of gaps in salaries, female authorship, leadership in societies and journals, and faculty positions in academia. We should be actively reaching out to young women with careers in ophthalmology, helping them to master networking and negotiation skills, and encouraging them to set professional goals that aim only for excellence. We should also challenge existing policies in our institutions and facilitate change in them; that might be a research funding opportunity for young female ophthalmologists or implementation of an anti-harassment policy...
As women at the top of our field, when empowering women in the early stages of their careers in ophthalmology, we must lead by personal example. We should express our wishes constantly – and in an assertive manner if needed, recognize our potential, and do our best to fulfil it.
My final advice to young ophthalmologists, who perhaps one day hope to appear on The Ophthalmologist’s Power List: Try to find balance between work and personal life, to delegate commitments, and – most important of all – treat each other with empathy, generosity, and consideration.