Women and Leadership Roles in Healthcare

Across the world, women form the bulk of the workforce in healthcare – this is the only industry where more women (than men) are employed. However, what is baffling is that in spite of forming the majority of the employees, women still find it difficult to reach leadership roles and senior positions. Also, though 7 out of 10 women are employed in the healthcare industry, reaching a position of leadership takes them 3-5 years longer compared to men.

There is no single reason for this. A multitude of factors come together to form this scenario.

Why Do We Need to Fix This?

We need to fix this not only for the sake of gender equality, diversity in workforce and inclusiveness, but also because hospitals with women playing a crucial role in leadership fare better when it comes to financial output as well as effective patient care.

If hospitals are truly committed towards providing patients with a personalized touch which will not only increase the patient’s comfort level but will also contribute towards a better understanding of the patient and consequently his treatment, it is imperative that women be given a wider representation in senior roles.

Giving the Healthcare Industry the Recognition It Deserves

While there are factors that need to be worked on, there is no doubt that women are invariably happy to be working in this service-oriented sector.

  • Compared to other industries, women are best represented in the healthcare industry across all ranks.
  • While promotions may be less, women in healthcare are definitely better off in this too compared to their counterparts in other fields.
  • Women in healthcare are also more successful when it comes to asking and getting salary raises.
  • Women being blessed with a natural ability to empathize and connect, definitely rate this field as one in which job satisfaction at the end of the day is very high.

Read More: Top Healthcare Innovations by Kauvery Hospital

Issues That Need to Be Addressed

  • Line managers are those who supervise the day-to-day operations in an organization that are directly linked to financial profit. Line managers will be answerable to the upper management. While women occupying line manager positions are more at the entry level, this representation reduces at higher levels.
  • More women are hired at entry level positions compared to executive positions. Hiring practices need to change to address this.
  • Interview panels need to include women as many studies point to this as a key factor in the hiring of women.
  • It is human nature to hire whom we feel comfortable with and when diversification is missing at the senior levels, it reflects on other levels too.
  • Women are also motivated by factors that are different from men. While men are financially driven to advance, women are motivated by the prospect of setting an example for other employees. Thus, women need to be given goals in accordance with this.
  • Women naturally hold back from asking for a promotion or a raise. This is because they believe that their work should speak for itself.
  • Women also lack mentors to encourage and guide them.
  • Some women also baulk at the pressure associated with higher-ranking roles.
  • Many people do not understand the need for diversity in the workplace and hence do not promote it.
  • While there is an overall improvement in working women’s position, we still have a long way to go as women do report many microaggressions at work.
  • One research points to women’s natural disinclination to network when their seniors are men. While it is natural for all of us to feel more comfortable communicating with people of the same gender, this invariably affects women’s chances at promotions.
  • Women also have a tendency to put their family and familial obligations ahead of their own professional growth. Especially when it comes to small children, mothers take a break from work or drop out of leadership positions to better look after their children. As a result, their lagging behind their male counterparts is inevitable.

Steps to Take

  • Identify and train women to take up leadership roles. Committees can be set up for the purpose.
  • Minimize gender disparity and bias when it comes to hiring and training by having automated processes to filter resumes.
  • The same should be followed for performance reviews too as they play a crucial role in promotions.
  • Employees need to be educated on the necessity for and the benefits of having an inclusive workplace culture. Other than for the sake of social equality, inclusivity also leads to a more creative, successful and financially profitable organization.
  • Educate managers to recognize and correct unequal treatment meted out to women.
  • Offer women flexible working hours and give them benefits they will understand and appreciate like longer maternity leave, work from home opportunities (when possible) and child care benefits.

Women at Kauvery

At Kauvery, we understand the crucial role women play in the success of our organization. Patients often tell us they feel a familial bond with our hospital and we have no qualms when it comes to admitting that this is due to our female employees.

Women constitute 75% of our workforce but what is perhaps more important is the fact that 75% of our managers are women. Our executive management is committed towards promoting women and thanks to their efforts we are sure that very soon this trend will be reflected in leadership positions as well.

Women’s care and concern is genuine and this makes them an invaluable asset to any healthcare organization. It is in the society’s best interest that everything be done to foster their success.