NASHVILLE—The numbers paint a pretty stark picture: Despite making progress, healthcare still has a tremendous gender gap in the C-suite.
White women accounted for 27% of executive positions at healthcare companies in 2017. Black women made up just 3%. And women in healthcare are 25% less likely than men to be promoted to senior manager or director even though they ask for promotions as often as men, according to data from Mc- Kinsey & Co. “The case for gender diversity has to be made, and it has to be made compellingly,” Jennifer Stanley, expert partner at McKinsey, told the nearly 300 executive attendees at Modern Healthcare's Women Leaders in Healthcare event this month in Nashville.
Companies must set targets to promote diversity and hold someone accountable for meeting those goals, she said, adding that there's strong evidence that companies perform better financially when their leadership positions reflect gender and ethnic diversity. Frontline managers should be trained to be aware of unconscious bias and call out behavior that's not inclusive.
During the event, Providence St. Joseph Health announced its new #NotHere campaign to give female employees in the system a voice if they are sexually harassed.
But more importantly, the system's leadership is committed to creating a workforce where that behavior is not tolerated. The campaign encourages anyone who sees threatening or inappropriate actions to come forward and make formal complaints.
Debra Canales, the system's executive vice president and chief administrative officer who is leading the #NotHere campaign, said that every caregiver knows sexual harassment has no place at Providence St. Joseph Health.
The makeup of the system should make it a little easier to implement more stringent policies. About 75% of the entire Providence St. Joseph workforce and more than 50% of senior executives are female.