Education, Innovation, 2018

Interview: EIT Health Alumna promotes women’s empowerment in health innovation

15th August 2019

Ariadna Diaz, EIT Health Alumna and participant of the WE Health initiative

EIT Empowering Women

By highlighting some of the successful women leaders in our EIT Health Alumni Community, in cooperation with EIT, we aim to inspire a future generation of women entrepreneurs and to highlight the opportunities entrepreneurial activity can offer.

In this interview with the EIT, Ariadna Díaz, a member of the EIT Health Alumni, a participant of the WE Health initiative and this year’s Alumni Ambassador at the INJOY Summer School, speaks about passion, skills and her personal experience as a female leader in health.

Díaz, pictured right, participated in the WE Health initiative, pictured above

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself and your connection to the EIT Community.

A: I am a passionate healthcare professional who strongly believes in the need to implement innovation in this sector.  Nowadays, I am in charge of Market Research and Strategic Business Planning for Metabolic Diseases at Sanofi Iberia, identifying and analysing disease trends and unmet needs. I have been part of EIT Health Alumni since October last year, when I attended the WE Health initiative at IESE Barcelona. Since then, I have been able to see what an incredible network this is.

Q: Tell us about your experience with the EIT Health initiative called Empowering Women Entrepreneurs in Health Innovation (WE Health).

A: I attended the third module in Barcelona and it could not have surprised me more. It was three days of constant, stimulating learning. Every lec­ture, workshop and conference was so enriching. By far, the most powerful part of the programme was meeting the 30 women in professional healthcare. It was an amazing experience.

The programme particularly boosted my interest in the need for gender balance in the healthcare sector. As a result, seven of us co-created Womln­Health, a citizen initiative whose objective is the empowerment of women in their professional careers in the healthcare sector.

Q: What is the most important advice you could give other young women following in your footsteps?

A: Your effort will eventually be compensated. Be patient! Analyse your career in the long run. Try to figure out what you want within the next 3-5 years. This will help you make short-term decisions. Also, analyse your career from three angles:

  1. Are you passionate about it?
  2. Are you good at it?
  3. Does your career fit your personal values?

Q: Currently some people talk about there being a “gender gap” among entrepre­neurs. Do you think this is true?

A: The gender gap is not an opinion, it is a fact. And a dramatic one. Here are some figures:

  • 55% of university degrees are held by women;
  • however, there is a 31 % difference in the employment ratio of men and women;
  • there is a 15% wage gap between men and women at the same professional levels.
  • 33% of women are covered by part-time work, compared to 7% of men.

This can be solved if, as a society, we work on three strategies:

  • Education in a culture of equality and awareness.
  • Redefinition of the labour model
  • Increasing support for the professional devel­opment of women.

Q: Who are three inspirational women in your field and why?

A: I could not mention just three, that would be unfair to the rest. The critical issue here is that most of the women I have in mind have had to sacrifice their personal lives to get where they are today. I hope that little by little, together we can change this.  And when I read this question in the future I will not think: “Well yes they inspired me, but what price did they have to pay for that?”.

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