Women (and Discrimination) in Healthcare

Despite women accounting for nearly 80% of all healthcare employees, they still face discrimination and barriers to advancement in the workplace, says a new report.

Healthcare is powered by women. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, women account for 78.5% of the entire healthcare workforce. Still, the healthcare industry and the women employed by it, are not exempt from discrimination.

Rock Health, the first venture fund dedicated to digital health, recently released the results of their annual Women in Healthcare survey, in which they spoke to 635 women in healthcare about just that—being women in healthcare. The findings of the report indicate that women are pessimistic about achieving gender parity in their industry, that women led companies are better for morale, that African American women strongly believe racial discrimination is a barrier to career advancement, and more.

Here are some highlights from the report:

  • 55% of respondents believe it will take 25+ years to achieve gender parity in the workplace, with approximately 15% saying they believe it will take more than 50 years.
  • This lack of confidence may be tied to the fact that growth for women in positions of leadership has remained sluggish, or even declined, with women only accounting for 22.6% of board members and 21.9% of executives at Fortune 500 healthcare companies, up only 1.6% and 1.9%, respectively, since 2015, and women’s executive roles in hospitals seeing a decrease, down from 36.4% in 2015 to 34.5% in 2018.
  • Women in leadership roles, however, prove better for company morale. For survey respondents employed by companies with less than 10% women executives, the average rating of company culture was 5.5 out of 10, as opposed to companies with 50% or more women executives, which had an average rating of 8.6 out of 10.
  • Gender barriers weren’t the only things measured by the survey. Atop gender bias, 86% of African American women surveyed said their race is “very much” a barrier to career advancement, compared to just 9% of white women.
  • Among women of all races surveyed, 71.2% of women stated that they believe underselling skills is a significant barrier to career advancement.

The full survey results, including more facts and figures from the findings, can be viewed here.

Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.