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Time for Women to 'Lean In' to Healthcare Leadership Roles

Chelsea Rice, for HealthLeaders Media, April 1, 2013

Standing in the way of more women advancing is just that—there are fewer women advancing to the executive level than men, and this disparity creates a lack of senior mentors for women. Men are likely to have more senior mentors than women, because there are more of them, therefore their professional relationships are likely to result in greater compensation and higher-level positions.

Having more women in executive roles also benefits future leaders, both male and female. According to a June 2012 report from Catalyst, although women and men benefit equally from developing others, women are more likely to develop others than men. Sixty-five percent of women who had been developed by mentors were paying it forward, compared to 56% of men, according to Catalyst.

The research also demonstrated the sociological truth that like typically attracts like and women are more likely to have mentors when more women are in leadership (73% of women who were developing others were developing female talent compared to 30% of men who were developing female talent).

Women don't even let long hours get in their way. Between male and female executives working more than 60 hours a week, 76% of women were developing others compared to 57% of men.

We know that clinical background experience is becoming increasingly relevant to the C-suite. According to ACHE, 56% of women have achieved leadership through a clinical path versus a healthcare administration educational background. Only 31% of men had clinical experience before their executive-level positions.

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2 comments on "Time for Women to 'Lean In' to Healthcare Leadership Roles"


ERASTOTHENES DE ALEJANDRIA (4/3/2013 at 11:37 AM)
Unfortunately and still today, the woman has a big problem. You must choose between personal life and work life and also must do so on occasions, repeatedly and that leads to not want to ascend to great works that can limit your personal life. I think that it is very difficult to give a solution to this problem. I don't have it

Phyllis Kritek, RN, PhD (4/2/2013 at 10:20 AM)
I read this report with fascination. It reflects the chronic blind spot Health Leaders Media tends to perpetuate. Most C suites have a woman, the Chief Nursing Officer who is usually a woman, providing leadership of the largest portion of the work force doing the work most directly related to the organization's mission: patient care. Yet there is a tendency to ignore this resource pool for CEO and COO positions. And of course, yes, they have a clinical background. Wouldn't it be interesting to find out why this resource pool is ignored or passed over? I often wonder what CEOs would do if confronted with the leadership challenges managed by most CNOs.