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New research reveals that women are excelling in the field. Why this is good news for the C-suite.
A deep dive into the healthcare industry and how it stacks up on gender equality reveals that women are excelling in the field.
Women in the Workplace research, a collaborative initiative between Lean in and McKinsey details women’s advancement in leadership. The latest release looks at the healthcare industry and how it is uniquely positioned to take the lead in the next phase of establishing gender and racial equality.
“While many healthcare specific reports focus on women in leadership, we thought it was important to understand what happens in the middle of the pipeline and determine what some of the drivers are for why representation declines throughout the ladder,” says Gretchen Berlin, a partner at McKinsey.
While many healthcare specific reports focus on women in leadership, researchers thought it was important to understand what happens in the middle of the pipeline and determine what some of the drivers are for why representation declines throughout the ladder. Specifically, researchers looked at employee experiences, company policies, and the effectiveness of industry programs intended to promote diversity and inclusion.
“Additionally, as healthcare is 18% of U.S. gross domestic product, we felt this was an important deep dive to do,” Berlin says. “From our own research, we know that diversity matters in performance-for example diverse organizations are 35% more likely to have financial returns about their national medians, as well as in actual care outcomes. I am a registered nurse, and from my healthcare background I’ve seen firsthand the importance of diversity and gender equality in the workplace-whether it’s through the importance of caregivers matching and understanding the needs of the diverse patient population, or formal pathways put in place for those looking to advance to senior roles.”
By some measures, the research revealed that women are excelling in healthcare:
However, the healthcare industry still suffers from similar challenges as other industries:
“At the leadership level, executives are one of the most important pieces of the solution that can drive change to the healthcare industry,” Berlin says. “Healthcare executives have the power to set a bold aspiration, work together with HR to implement fair hiring practices, implement diversity and inclusion trainings and put sponsorship and mentorship programs in place within their organization. They also can represent leadership team that reflects their employees’ values and ensure that diverse perspectives are factored into the decision-making process to drive better patients and business outcomes.”
As healthcare executives are often key decision-makers within their organizations, the research recommendations to continue the progress made in tackling gender equality and diversity and inclusion issues are:
“Improving gender parity isn’t just the right thing to do, it saves lives,” Berlin says. “A balanced workforce drives better innovation, performance, employee experiences and actual patient outcomes. The healthcare industry has an opportunity to build upon the positive momentum, tackle challenges head on, and lead the way in establishing best practices for gender and racial equity that transcend industries.”