Health and Care Women Leaders Network

Health and Care Women Leaders Network

Women Leaders Network

Delivered by the NHS Confederation and NHS Employers, the Health and Care Women Leaders Network is a free network for women working across health and care.
It connects through events, masterclasses and tweet chats, and shares learning through podcasts, blogs, videos and key reports.
Join to celebrate skills and talents, connect with colleagues and challenge gender stereotypes in the workplace.
To find out more and to get involved in the network, please email the team at
Find out more about the network by listening to our chair Sam Allen talk about her leadership journey and plans for the network in the short film below.

The network was established in 2015 and is made up of senior and aspiring women leaders working across health and care, with new members joining every week.

The network is straightforward in its outlook. It exists to:

  • support women in their careers and their professional development
  • recognise the skills and talents of women and their impact across health and care
  • raise awareness of barriers facing women in the workplace
  • share knowledge, inspiration and motivation from key speakers and focused workshops
  • empower women to secure senior and board level positions
  • scrutinise and challenge bias against women in the workplace.

For more information on our aims and priorities for 2019/20 read the Health & Care Women Leaders Network - Strategic overview.

The network is made up of women with a range of roles, skills, and backgrounds which adds to the rich diversity of the community.

Whether its hosting an event on mentoring, launching a new report on women in leadership, or hearing from a diverse range of inspiring speakers, there is always something to take away from our events in the form of learning or understanding.

In September 2018 we carried out a survey of our members. The findings have helped us better understand the topics our members care most about which include:

  • nurturing, developing and managing talent (97 per cent of you said this was extremely important or important)
  • mentor and coaching support (96 per cent)

More than 75 per cent of respondents rated the following extremely important/important:

  • more women on NHS boards
  • gender pay gap
  • flexible working
  • a strong united voice for women
  • healthy work-life balance
  • harassment and bullying.

The survey also identified some of the most significant barriers to career development you have experienced and helped us understand more about how the network has supported you. Read the executive summary for more a more detailed look at the survey results.

Festival of learning, wellbeing and inclusion

On Wednesday 18 November 2020 the network held a virtual Festival of learning, wellbeing and inclusion in partnership with the BME Leadership Network and the Health & Care LGBTQ+ Leaders Network.

The event looked back on the challenges of 2020 and looked forward to reset and restoration - the conference programme focused on the importance of looking after ourselves and each other, and provided the opportunity to listen to and discuss with experts how to create a culture of inclusion and belonging. Take a look at some of the highlights from the day in this Twitter moment and watch the highlights from the day here.

Action for equality: The time is now

Action for equality: The time is now, builds on and expands the work undertaken for the 2017 NHS Women on Boards 50:50 by 2020 report which examined the steps the NHS needed to take to reach the target of equal gender representation on boards by 2020.

The new report findings show that while progress has been made to increase the proportion of women in leadership roles across the health service, there is more to do to meet the NHS’s target for 50:50 representation this year, as set by the NHS regulator in 2016. Read the full report and the executive summary here.

Find out more about the report in the video below.

NHS Women on Boards: Action for Equality from NHS Employers on Vimeo.

COVID-19 and the female health and care workforce

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed unprecedented pressure on health and care staff. In June 2020 the Health & Care Women Leaders Network commissioned a survey to better understand the impact the pandemic has had on women working across health and care services. Read the report and accompanying slide deck explain the findings.

Brave, Compassionate, Confident, Kind: Succeeding as a women in health and care

In this report, more than 20 senior women working in and with the NHS speak candidly about their career journeys and how women they have known, and worked with have supported them and helped them on their leadership journey. 

The report was launched alongside the social media campaign #WonderfulWomenDo. The campaign is about celebrating women, but it is not limited to women: people of any gender are encouraged to get involved and acknowledge women or other colleagues who have supported them or had a positive impact using the hashtag #WonderfulWomenDo.
Follow the campaign activity on Twitter using #WonderfulWomenDo or visit the campaign's dedicated web page.

Men as allies - a report from Health & Care Women Leaders Network

In this report the network explores some of the actions and behaviours men can take to support the development of female leaders in the NHS. Read Men as allies.

The network continues to build its presence socially - engage with @hcwomenleaders and use our hashtag #NHSwomen.

For more information and how to join our network take a look at the NHS Employers website.


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