Women make up about the half of the healthcare workforce. However, they are often underrepresented in the top echelons of leadership positions, particularly at the board or higher executive levels. As per Regina Temple, while a lot of progress has been witnessed in terms of gender equality globally, and across many sectors, gender differences can still be observed quite a bit in major leadership positions, like that of a CEO.
Regina Temple talks about why more women CEOs are required in healthcare
The path towards leadership is not linear. Some work their way up to top positions, and certain people are given their roles immediately. It undoubtedly is true that not every person has leadership potential and can lead an organization to success. But discrimination and biases unfortunately does exist at the executive level across sector, and may deter organizations from enabling talented individuals to shine. This problem is seen in many industries, including healthcare.
Typically, the healthcare sector attracts the participation of women in ‘caring’ professions like nursing. Women do make up a large percentage of doctors and nurses. However, when it comes to leadership positions like CEOs, CIOs, CTOs, and CISOs, the percentage of women in healthcare is relatively low. In addition to the large disparity between the genders, women who make it to CEO typically take at least 3 years longer than men to attain that position.
It is critical for the healthcare industry to put greater emphasis on gender equality and have more women in high-ranking roles. After all, it is the people in the leadership roles like the CEO who make decisions that affect both healthcare workers and patients. With a low number of women CEOs in healthcare, there are chances of imbalance in policy intricacies that can be detrimental to how healthcare organizations deliver patient care. Moreover, having more women in the higher echelons of healthcare can indicate that they will collaborate better with other women across various sectors.
For example, today public health professionals are increasingly at the frontlines of the fight against health threats, like Covid-19. In addition to taking charge of the overall health of specific groups, such professionals also consider the socioeconomic standing of communities and access to healthcare services. Their job goes way beyond typical caregiving, and they require all the support they can get. More women leaders mean that they are likely to acknowledge other working women’s struggles and offer valuable solutions, like closing the gender pay gap and stopping the cycle of underrepresentation and inequity.
In the opinion of Regina Temple, women can bring much needed diverse perspectives to leadership roles, which would ultimately lead to more well-rounded decision-making. In healthcare, where the patient population is diverse, having leadership that reflects this diversity can help in addressing the unique healthcare needs of different demographics. Women leaders would have a better understanding of women’s healthcare needs, which are sometimes overlooked or marginalized.
More participation of women in every rung of the healthcare domain will lead to inclusive and equitable healthcare delivery with a proper emphasis on everyone in society. Having gender diversity at the executive level has a myriad of benefits for all organizations, including hospitals and clinics.