News Feature | April 8, 2015

Women Missing From Healthcare's Top Positions

Katie Wike

By Katie Wike, contributing writer


A Rock Health survey found that, although women make up a majority of decision makers and most of the workforce in healthcare, few serve as CIOs, executives, and board members.

The third annual State of Women in Healthcare Report found that, despite accounting for 78 percent of healthcare’s workforce, only 20 percent of executives and board members in Fortune 500 healthcare companies are women. The report also found 80 percent of healthcare decisions are made by women.

Despite dominating the total healthcare workforce, women represent only 6 percent of digital health CEOs that were funded in 2014 and accounted for just over one-third of executives at Top 100 hospitals. Additionally women account for only 27 percent of board members at Top 100 hospitals and 21 percent of board executives at F500 healthcare companies.

MedCity News reports gender diversity has been shown to create positive trends - for example, companies with female CEOs outperform those without on the stock market, and companies which include women on boards outperformed those composed entirely of men by 26 percent.

“The fact that women are making the majority of healthcare decisions makes us especially disappointed that they haven’t been able to penetrate the leadership of these companies,” said Halle Tecco, founder of Rock Health. Also of note from Rock Health’s survey of more than 400 women in the healthcare was:

  • 96 percent said gender discrimination still exists
  • 45 percent said gender discrimination and lack of respect is one of the biggest hurdles
  • 40 percent said their firms do not support women in career development

“Let’s get together and support one another,” said Tecco. “Empower your colleagues to promote gender equality in the workplace. This month we challenge you to reach out to that mentor, manager, peer, or mentee with whom you’ve been meaning to connect with.”