Gender inequality in the workplace is a systemic phenomenon that remains tough to crack, despite societal pressures driving increased scrutiny. Healthcare is no exception. In the past year and a half since we last reflected on the status of women in healthcare, statistics show more women in leadership roles. According to Rock Health Research, the number of female executives at Fortune 500 healthcare companies increased from 20 percent in 2015 to 22.6 percent in 2017. Women also continue to be well represented in the broader healthcare workforce.
This week marks National Nurses Week in the U.S., both a celebration of the profession and an opportunity to educate the public about the role nurses play in healthcare and their communities. This year’s theme of “Nurses: Inspire, Innovate, Influence” highlights three concepts that overlap and reflect the innate role nurses play in patient care, as well as drawing attention to the personality types often drawn to nursing.
At first glance, one might think that healthcare is a female-dominated industry. After all, women make up 80 percent of healthcare workers. However, the truth is not so simple. In 2014, only 40 percent of executive roles in healthcare were held by women. Complicating this even further is the fact that on the business-to-business (B2B) side – particularly in newer industry sectors like healthcare IT – women are still finding their footing in leading roles.
Even as more women take on leadership roles today, old ways of thinking still remain. Since healthcare IT is a newer industry, we still have some ground to make up. Perhaps we should start by first acknowledging that an issue exists before we can successfully address it.
Healthcare may have had an impressive 2012, but the year ahead is going to be an even wilder ride. Obamacare will start ushering 38 million newly insured patients into the system, while we face a shortage of caregivers and primary care physicians. Health systems will continue to buy physicians groups, test out new accountable care and pay for performance models, and try to avoid getting their hands slapped on readmissions and other quality measures. Healthcare IT will continue to both empower and stifle clinicians. It all sounds like a tall order, but from where I sit, we’re also going to see some really positive and exciting moves in 2013: