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Women in Healthcare Leadership

Women in Healthcare Leadership Project Pledge

The WIHL project was set up in 2019, as part of the HLA, by a team of scholars and faculty members. The project aims to address the issue that women continue to remain under-represented in leadership roles within healthcare.

The National Health Service (NHS) faces the challenges of poor staff retention, ever increasing demand and changing demographics of service users. Balanced clinical leadership is required to ensure the NHS can continue to deliver patient centered care and support its employees.

This project provides opportunity to pose questions, invite open discussion and create a bank of resources for women aspiring to become leaders in healthcare.

Since its conception in 2019, we have undertaken numerous projects (see below).  We continue to support incoming scholars who wish to undertake projects related to the WIHL and work towards our objectives; whilst building up a network of people who share the passion of gender equity in healthcare.


Our objectives, from the beginning, have been three-fold.

  • To assess the current state of play

  • To create informative and inspirational material

  • To impact change

In summary our objective is simple; to ensure all who desire have the opportunity, training and support to pursue a leadership role to ensure we equip the NHS with representative and discerning leaders of the future.

Our Team

Carina Dowson - WIHL Network Lead

Carina is an Acute Medicine Consultant and Clinical Lead at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation trust. Originally an HLA scholar in 2019, she is currently a cohort director for Newcastle, and the network lead of the Women in Healthcare Leadership (WIHL).  

She is passionate about improving flexible and LTFT working, focusing on this during her MSc in Medical Leadership and setting up the HEENE LTFT forum, which continues to aim to improve LTFT training across all specialties in the North East.

Carina is also an Honorary Clinical Tutor for UCLAN, teaching on the Core Principles of Healthcare Leadership PGCert module.

Kathryn French - Mentor

Kathryn is a Specialist Oral Surgeon and Education Lead for Oral Surgery Specialist training in the Southwest for Health Education England. She is lead of the HLA Dentistry Network with a keen interest in training, research and future leadership in dentistry. Kathryn has a little boy and is well aware of the challenges faced by women in clinical and leadership roles.

Eleanor Budge - Mentor

Eleanor Budge is a junior doctor based in London. Her clinical interests lie in anaesthesia and peri operative medicine. During her time at the HLA she hopes to gain insight into the attributes required for good clinical leadership and have opportunity to develop these skills in this role. She is passionate about effecting change and challenging the barriers to women in healthcare leadership.

Eleanor Morris - Mentor

Eleanor Morris is a Junior Doctor based in South Yorkshire, with an interest in Medical Education. As a Scholar in 2020/1, she led the WIHL Webinar series and hosted several discussions via social media forums. She is now mentoring new scholars with an interest in Gender Equity in healthcare.

Rebecca Murphy Lonergan - Mentor 

Rebecca is a junior doctor working in North London and a recent graduate from the University of Edinburgh. She is interested in women’s health and clinical practice on a global scale, particularly sexual and reproductive health. 

Through previous leadership positions at medical school, and as a HLA mentor, she hopes to draw attention to gender inequities in the medical workforce and inspire more women to vocalise their experiences, both positive and negative, to better understand how gender dynamics affect doctors and their patients.

Our Projects

WIHL Webinar Series


WIHL Art Series

The Women in Healthcare Leadership Art Series is delivered by Ameana Khan (HLA Scholar 2020-21 and Anaesthetic Registrar)

The NHS workforce is made up of a diverse community. Like many organisations, there are also some inequalities that are embedded within the NHS. In order to gain insight into the thoughts of other NHS workers, Ameana has requested her colleagues to be her muses and tell the story of their background and the challenges they have faced as women and as being a part of the ethnic minority.  In her series of art pieces, she has used an urban style to accentuate the powerful role the women play as NHS workers.  She has written ‘strong women’ in English as well as their native language.

WIHL 100 Word (Women) Project

The 100 Word Project was initially established in 2018. Over 100 days, the project focused on resilience in healthcare. In 2019 the WIHL took on this project, starting on 30th November 2019 and running until International Women’s Day on the 8th March 2020. The project focused on inspirational female leaders in healthcare: 100 women over 100 days.

The aims of taking on the 100WP project were to showcase the great work done by so many women while inspiring and encouraging others to achieve their full potential.

Women featured were nominated by peers and were asked three questions; what their most significant achievement was, what would they tell their younger selves, and to describe themselves in three words. Across Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn, we shared their inspirational words and full responses.

The women who were featured were from a variety of health professions and with a broad spectrum of career experience, from students to past Presidents of Royal Colleges.

They shared prominent life events, personal reflection, and heartfelt advice. The project followed on from the original project’s success, with over 780,000 impressions on Twitter alone, over 1,000 impressions a day on Facebook, and 600 daily via Instagram. 


We published a joint blog sharing some of our highlights with the BMJ here.


Posts are available on the following socials:


  • 100 Word Project Facebook
  • 100 Word Project Twitter
  • 100 Word Project Instagram

Connect with WIHL

Contact us directly at:


Follow us on our socials:

  • WIHL Twitter
  • WIHL Instagram
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