It’s no secret that women are a big deal in our society. However, it’s less known that women dominate the global and national healthcare industry. In fact, a recent study shows that women make up 70 percent of the worldwide healthcare workforce, but only 25 percent are in positions of power.
Because of unique systemic barriers, women have a harder time landing positions of power, as compared to their male counterparts. A new wave of leadership is among us with rising numbers of lady bosses raising the bar for healthcare leadership.
Obstacles for women leaders
With challenges that range from gender discrimination and implicit bias to sexual harassment, professional women in healthcare face unwavering career roadblocks that most men don’t encounter.
Although the majority of healthcare workers are women, the number of females in leadership positions is shockingly low. Gender inequality in healthcare has been a persistent issue for years, resulting in catastrophic challenges for healthcare professionals and patients, such as less research done on conditions and diseases that affect women, plus decreased quality of patient care.
The breakdown of female leaders in healthcare gets narrower the higher up the food chain you go. For example, while women account for 66 percent of all entry-level healthcare jobs, they only account for 13 percent of CEOs. The biggest obstacle females face in healthcare jobs is the leap from manager to senior manager.
“We need better gender balance in leadership of health services,” said Dr. Hongsoo Kim. “We need gender equality in leadership.”
According to the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, the gender pay gap in healthcare for high-income countries is 26 percent and 29 percent in upper-middle-income countries. In addition to this extraordinary salary difference between genders, it also takes women three to five years longer than men to reach a CEO level position in the healthcare market.
There’s no question that women hold most of the stock in the healthcare industry—66 percent of entry-level healthcare workers are ladies, 59 percent of managers are female, 49 percent of senior managers are women, 41 percent of vice presidents are ladies, 34 percent of senior vice presidents are female, 30 percent of C-level execs are women, and 13 percent of CEOs are ladies. But, when it comes to diversity in leadership, the healthcare industry has some work to do.
Raising the bar in healthcare leadership
By adding more ladies to the healthcare leadership table, patients are able to receive more in-depth healthcare since women can relate personally to the type and quality of care other women seek and receive. Women also have rare innate advantages to becoming leaders like:
- More likely to practice humility
- Enhanced relationship-building skills
- Thirst for challenge
- An ability to collaborate with others
- A strong desire to make positive change
The more women in healthcare leadership, the more opportunities there are to showcase their strengths and abilities to overcome adversity. Throughout history, females have proven time and time again that they deserve a seat at the leadership table. Moving forward, we must raise the bar in healthcare leadership and offer ladies a chance to use their voices to promote positive change.
Meet Fusion Marketplace female leader partners
Linda Hotchkiss, GetMed Owner & CEO
With more than 17 years of experience in the healthcare staffing industry, Linda Hotchkiss is one of GetMed Staffing's Owners, as well as the company's CEO. While Linda wears many hats as a leader, her day-to-day responsibilities include overseeing operations in nursing, sales, marketing, recruiting, payroll, and occasionally bartending.
When she's not running a successful healthcare staffing agency, you can find Linda binge-watching true crime documentaries and stand-up comedy performances.
Lynna Nguyen, Axis Medical Staffing Director of Recruitment and Operations
Lynna is a true travel-enthusiast. Not only is she one of the few recruiters at Axis who will travel cross-country to meet healthcare travelers, Lynna also puts together and delivers onboarding care packages and may even treat her travelers to a nice meal, if they ask nicely.
A hard-worker, Operations Manager, rock star recruiter, and marketing guru, Lynna is providing a strong example of all the things women are capable of accomplishing in one professional role.
Emily Matteson, Aequor Vice President of Travel Nursing
This Aequor VP is highly skilled in customer-retention, clinical recruiting, staffing services, and demonstrated leadership, Emily has a history of success in the healthcare staffing market. Passionate about building teams and seeing results, Emily has spent over a decade supporting travel nurses to help them flourish into the professionals they've always wanted to be.
Beth Schneider, Lead Healthstaff Senior Vice President of Client Engagement
As described by Lead Healthstaff, "Beth Schneider is what most of the team aspires to be one day." A constant "awe" for the team, Beth leads by example on how to conduct oneself as a woman in business and leadership. If she's not busting her tail as Senior Vice President of Client Engagement, you'll more than likely spot her on the beach sipping on her favorite drink.
Sara Spanjer, BSN, RN Fusion Medical Staffing Chief Clinical Officer
Fueling the healthcare industry for 15 years, Sara gained years of experience as a registered nurse (RN) in facilities across the country before she made her way to the top of the healthcare staffing industry at Fusion Med Staffing. A recent winner of the Midland's Business Journal's (MBJ) 40 Under 40 Award, Sara leads the way for young leaders to come and encourages the healthcare community to practice gratitude each day.
Although women haven't always been prominent in the healthcare staffing world, they have always played an important role in caregiving. Now as the healthcare market endures an epic change in leadership, female executives are making way for more professional women to join alongside them in the field.