Thursday, March 14, 2024


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

You Cannot Be, What You Cannot See

Two women at the helm of the Mackay Hospital Health Service are inspiring an entire workforce to new heights and demonstrating what can be achieved with hard work and perseverance.

MHHS chair and board member Helen Darch OAM and chief executive Susan Gannon are among the 83% female workforce at the Mackay Hospital Health Service.

Both agree International Women’s Day today is an ideal time to reflect on and highlight the important role of women in the workforce and within the community.

“It’s amazing to see the number of women in our service and the many and varied contributions they are making towards a better future,” Ms Gannon said.

“Women have so much to contribute and the way they look at things really matters.”

It was considered somewhat rare to have women in chief executive and chairperson roles and helping to set the strategic direction and oversee the management of Mackay HHS.

“Board members of hospital and health services were primarily male in the past, but the gender balance is now really shifting,” Helen said.

Awareness campaigns like International Women’s Day, with the theme of ‘Count her in’, served as the ideal opportunity to acknowledge how times and perspectives had changed. 

“It’s a day when we note just how far we’ve come from having to seek permission to work, to actually reversing the roles in lots of ways,” Helen said.

“Today is really about celebrating how far we’ve come in recent times, but to also acknowledge there’s still a way to go in terms of ingrained attitudes and equality,” she said.

With more women drawn to the medical profession today, the workforce was seeing a “changing of the guard”. 

“More females are training as doctors than ever before, This will lead to a change in culture in a previously male-dominated profession,” Susan said.

“In the metropolitan areas, the ratio of female doctors now coming through the ranks is at about 50%.”

Both women are proud to acknowledge and celebrate the predominantly female workforce at Mackay HHS.

“I think it’s fabulous to have Susan as the chief executive of the health service because, as they say, you can’t be what can’t see,” Helen said.

“Our workforce has the incredible opportunity to see women in these senior roles and to say, one day I too can be a chief executive or have a senior role here. It’s all possible,” she said.

To mark International Women’s Day, Mackay HHS staff wore purple on the day.

By Mackay Hospital and Health Service

Caption: MHHS chair and board member Helen Darch OAM and chief executive Susan Gannon.

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