Exploring The Difficulties Surrounding Women Leaders In The Healthcare Sector

In the previous few decades, the number of women leaders in the healthcare field experienced an evident rise. As stated by ThinkProgress, a little under ten percent of all women practiced in healthcare in 1970. Nowadays, this number is around three times more than before. However, that does not mean that the healthcare field contains a gender-friendly work environment for women.

Women in the healthcare field have numerous roles and responsibilities to fulfill. They work as doctors, nurses, department heads, and midwives, requiring a specific amount of experience and personal touch. They usually work in clinical settings, hospitals, community centers, or have their private practice. Despite regular representation in the healthcare field, women continue to face difficulties.

Gender biases were always a part of human culture, and it still is long after abolishing slavery and sexism. Like other fields and careers, being a woman leader in the healthcare field, they have to deal with such inequality issues daily. However diverse a workplace is, such an aspect of inequality will still creep in from tiny hospital administration cracks. Let us look at some of the issues these women healthcare leaders face when practicing at hospitals, clinics, or other medical facilities. You can find some of them listed down below:

Work-Life Balancing Issues

Work-life balance is a significant obstacle when being a woman and talking about career advancement. A woman has specific duties at home more than the male counterparts. A woman’s home life can easily interfere with their professional life. Especially when she is a healthcare leader, and their job requires them to be ever-present inside the medical facility, it becomes challenging. According to research conducted recently in India, forty-six percent of women in the healthcare field stated that their home life came in the way of their jobs. Twenty-six percent of these women said that it affected their job satisfaction as well.

However, we have to keep in mind that most of these women only had a healthcare degree. And if they get enrolled in an online masters degree in management and leadership, they would better manage professional and personal life.

Cultural Impact

Residents inside a hospital are about thirty-five percent women. At the same time, the remaining are men, according to the AMA (American medical association). It is more apparent in a department such as gynecology. Women dominate at around eighty-five percent of the resident workforce. In healthcare, specialties can turn towards one extreme to another in a blink of an eye. Decades ago, men dominated the gynecology department. But, today, it is the exact opposite. Various medical students refrain from taking up OB as they consider it a female dominant healthcare field, impacting the healthcare system’s quality in the long run.

The same trend is prominent in the pediatric field, containing seventy-five percent females and twenty-five percent men. On the other side of the coin, male-dominant areas include radiology, surgery, and anesthesiology, sixty-four percent male dominant.

Pay Issues

According to a Medscape survey, female healthcare professionals earn relatively less compared to their male counterparts. This pay discrepancy extends into other sub-field of healthcare. For example, a male physician may earn 200,000 dollars per year, while a female with the same job title makes around 190,000 dollars per year. For those who have specialized, the pay was 250,000 dollars for males and 170,000 dollars for females. It can be because sixty-five percent of healthcare professionals are male.

In comparison, women are at only thirty-five percent. Undoubtedly, a bachelor’s degree in allied health will provide women with a good pay bump. Still, they cannot tackle the workplace’s cultural and gender issues with only an education.

However, this gap between salaries is decreasing day by day. Female practitioner salaries continue to rise faster than the rate of salary rise for men, thirty-six percent compared to twenty-nine percent for males. For individuals who have specialized, the surge was forty percent compared to thirty-four percent for males. Such figures suggest that the gap will become less apparent soon.

Lack Of Support From The Administration

One of the reasons that such a gender imbalance exists is the lack of support from the medical facility administration. Women in the healthcare field feel that they lack support from the administration department and want to involve themselves in making decisions just like their male counterparts. Due to such a reason, these women feel less valued, and it can cause their productivity and efficiency to decline by a considerable margin. Females used to be less ambitious than males, but that was around a decade ago.

We now live in a democratic world, and everyone’s opinion matters. More and more females are assuming a leadership position in various fields, let alone in healthcare. They would want to be more involved in the decision making process, allowing them to work in a stress-free environment. Hospital administration should enforce policies that look after the interests of women practitioners and healthcare leaders. Doing so will be beneficial for the hospital financially. It will also increase the quality of healthcare given to patients. After all, isn’t it the end-goal of every medical facility to provide the best quality care and treatment to its patients?

Harassment Issues

Harassment in the workplace is a sensitive issue that plagues the corporate work environment and the healthcare-based one. Women are subject to sexual harassment regularly. And, its extremity continues to increase with every passing day. According to US employment laws and regulations, sexual harassment deals with sexual discrimination. It changes the conditions, terms, and employment privileges as it hinders the ability of the harassment victim to do their job productively. On top of that, instances of sexual harassment are difficult to monitor. And it is mostly underreported as it damages an organization’s reputation, be it a corporate office or a hospital.

Policymakers should come up with some rules and regulations regarding sexual harassment. They need to protect women in high-positions to ensure they have job satisfaction and can grow their careers without worrying about them. More than seventy-five countries worldwide have introduced laws restricting sexual harassment to solve the never-ending problems of sexual harassment. Suppose, for some reason, a person is a victim of sexual harassment. In that case, you should help them out by apprehending the committer and imposing fines on him or firing him on the spot.


Nowadays, both genders have equal leadership qualities and can do their duties diligently. Gone are the days when females were a symbol of oppression. Women are making more strides than men to advance their careers, which is apparent as numerous women work in leadership positions in government agencies, hospitals, and clinics. If you are an aspiring female healthcare graduate looking to start a career in this field, knowing these issues will allow you to create a game plan to tackle them.

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