International Women’s Day 2022 is Tuesday, March 8th. The first International Women’s Day was observed in 1911. Every year on this day we celebrate women around the world, honoring their achievements, sharing empowering stories, and spreading messages of encouragement. It’s a day devoted to raising awareness about women’s equality in every country, across all cultures.
International Women's Day 2022 and #BreakTheBias
Each International Women’s Day carries a unique theme. This year’s theme is #BreakTheBias. The general public is encouraged to participate in the event by taking a photo in the IWD 2022 pose with arms crossed over the torso to form an “x”, and posting it to social media with the hashtags #IWD2022 #BreakTheBias.
In addition, participants in the event are urged to share theirs and others’ stories around gender biases in order to create awareness.
“As a female founded company, it’s very important to speak up on this day,” says MEDELITA founder Lara Francisco, PA-C. She explains that, “MEDELITA is extremely well known for its initiatives especially around the amplification of highly accomplished, highly educated, professional women and bringing this day to light is absolutely in line with everything we’ve done from day one, in 2008.”
MEDELITA was founded to fill a need for appropriate uniform options for women working in medicine. The only option for female clinicians has been unisex scrubs and lab coats, which are designed for the male figure. MEDELITA was the first to provide lab coats in women’s sizes, tailored to the female frame.
How MEDELITA Has Helped to #BreakTheBias for Women
Lara Francisco was driven by a strong desire to partner with and empower her female colleagues working in medicine when she founded MEDELITA in 2008. Through her path to become a PA-C specializing in Emergency Medicine, she discovered how impossible it was to find profession-appropriate attire that actually fit and was suitable for the needs of a hospitalist.
She was appalled to find that the only options did not convey professionalism in the slightest. After so many years of education and hard work to acquire her title, Lara, like all female clinicians at the time and prior, had no choice but to wear an ill-fitting, uncomfortable outfit, not unlike a jail uniform, that simply did not do her aptitude justice.
“MEDELITA was first to wipe out this history of downgrading your appearance to maintain your title,” says Lara. “We made it ok to look professional as a female clinician and wear something consistent with their title.”
MEDELITA scrubs and lab coats were the first of their kind. Thoughtfully designed, expertly tailored apparel for medical professionals made with performance fabric simply did not exist at the time. Now, with the market seemingly saturated with options, competing brands are still unable to come close to the quality and precision that MEDELITA products all provide.
Founder Lara Francisco continues to break biases by working closely with her fellow clinicians to develop purposeful products that help medical professionals perform their best. Most recently, MEDELITA was the first to develop a hijab worthy of women working in medicine. The garment is unique on the market for offering ease of use and comfort for the wearer. Lara worked closely with hijabi women in medicine to design the garment.
Most notably, the hijab features perfectly placed slits allowing for easy yet discreet ear access for stethoscope, earbud, or mask use. The slip on design and self-clinging nature of the buttery soft stretch fabric make the hijab practically effortless to put on with no need for pins or magnets, and a beautiful drape guaranteed every time.
The nature of the job once prevented hijabis from being able to easily and quickly do required activities, like using a stethoscope or putting on a mask, without compromising their commitment to modest dress. A hijab-wearing medical professional would typically need to leave the room to adjust her covering before and after using a stethoscope on her patient. Now the MEDELITA Medical Hijab has leveled the playing field. The hijabi can access her ears discreetly in the same room as her patient.
The inclusivity of the hijab due to its functionality is matched in the beauty of it, with an unrivaled, gorgeous drape. Other brands that have attempted to provide a medical hijab haven’t come close to providing a beautiful or functional garment, outlining a serious bias and the general lack of interest in serving hijabis in medicine.
“Muslim women deserve to feel beautiful,” says Lara. “No other product in our offering says more about how much we care about who wears our product, who chooses to wear our product and the collaboration and connectivity with understanding their needs at an extremely high level.”
Unfortunately, the medical field is rife with gender biases, some of which are just absurd in today’s day and age.
“There’s a general bias that any female that walks into a room in a healthcare situation is not a physician and still to this day it is very common,” says Lara. “It’s dumbfounding.”
MEDELITA clothing makes a small contribution to defeating this harmful bias.
Lara explains that, “when you present yourself in a well-fitting lab coat with name and title appropriately displayed across the chest, you carry yourself differently – feel more confident.”
Patients recognize their providers’ confidence and professional presentation, and in turn feel confident that they will get competent care.
MEDELITA, Breaking Biases, and Looking Forward
It is important to share women’s stories about how they rose above gender discrimination to achieve their goals in life not just on International Women’s Day, but every day. As we bring attention to the biases that exist in our communities, we can learn from one another and evolve our behavior to create lasting change.
“The more knowledge that is out there, the easier it is going to be to collectively work together to make changes not only in the healthcare profession but for women in general,” says Lara.
MEDELITA continues to leverage its platform to celebrate important holidays like International Women’s Day, by sharing stories around gender inequality so we can work towards gender parity, together. Learn more about International Women’s Day here.