“If the CEO isn’t engaged, it’s not going to work.” That’s the last line in the recent article, “Few women reach healthcare leadership roles.” The Aug. 12 cover story “Healthcare leaders continue to overlook assault, discrimination” is yet another example of little change in the status quo.
Where the lack of women in healthcare leadership is a problem, CEOs seem more engaged in keeping their job, not doing it. These articles could have been published 20 years ago. That’s how long “needing” more women at the executive level has been “talked about.” The reason back then? Not enough women in the pipeline. What’s the excuse now?
About 80% of the healthcare workforce is made up of women, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But fewer than 20% hold key leadership roles, according to Katie Bell, Korn Ferry global account lead for the healthcare sector. There’s just too much to lose for those in power to make sure women are promoted in healthcare, where the majority of healthcare decisions are made by women. (According to the U.S. Labor Department, women make 80% of healthcare decisions in the U.S.)
Women’s value system is different and accountability is of greater value to women. Saying there’s no time for diversity and inclusion efforts is how to keep the old boy network intact. Where’s the leadership? Boards must insist on action and hold management accountable. Let’s go already!
Oh, and where to look? Once again, nursing was ranked the most trusted profession in a recent Gallup ethics survey. The annual poll of Americans found that 84% of respondents rated the honesty and ethical standards of nurses as high or very high. More than 90% of nurses are women. And for the second consecutive year, women made up a majority (51.6% in 2018) of those enrolling in medical school, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.
Half Moon Bay, Calif.