Dr Praveena Shenoi

Bridging the Gap: The Imperative of Gender Diversity in Healthcare Leadership | Dr Praveena Shenoi | Sr Consultant Obstetrics and Gynecology | BirthRight | Rainbow Hospitals

Dr Praveena ShenoiIn the recent past, our healthcare industry has made significant contributions in promoting inclusivity, yet one crucial aspect demands more attention: Gender Disparity. The need for more female headcount is imperative in the leadership position to address this problem at the healthcare workplace. While women constitute a significant portion of the healthcare workforce, their representation in top leadership roles still remains disproportionately low. This disparity not only hinders organizational effectiveness but also undermines one’s efforts to achieve equitable healthcare outcomes.

Last year in 2023, a Dasra research article mentioned about how women constitutes only 18% of leadership roles in India’s healthcare sector, earning 34% less than male counterparts. Globally, women occupy only 25% of senior positions and a mere 5% of leadership roles in the healthcare sector. Several studies have demonstrated the benefits of diverse leadership teams in healthcare organizations. This helps to bring varied perspectives, enhances decision-making processes, fosters innovation, and improves patient satisfaction. Moreover, diverse leadership not only reflects the demographics of the communities served but also enables better understanding and responsiveness to cater diverse healthcare needs.

While we are addressing the advantages attached to it, the glass ceiling still persist for women in leadership because of various factors: implicit biases, lack of mentorship opportunities, limited access to networks, and systemic barriers ingrained within organizational structures. Additionally, the demanding nature of leadership roles, coupled with traditional gender roles and expectations, further hinder a woman’s progression to top positions.

Addressing the gender gap in healthcare leadership requires cumulative efforts at multiple levels. Organizations must implement policies and initiatives aimed at promoting diversity and inclusion, such as targeted recruitment strategies, leadership development programs for women, and transparent promotion processes. Moreover, fostering a culture of mentorship and sponsorship can provide women with guidance, support, and opportunities for advancement.

Furthermore, addressing implicit biases and promoting gender parity, demands educational initiatives and widespread awareness. Healthcare organizations can introduce training schemes on subconscious biases, gender sensitivity, and inclusive leadership courses to foster a healthier workplace. Also, fostering partnerships with external entities like professional organizations and advocacy groups can amplify efforts to enhance gender diversity in healthcare leadership.

Governmental and regulatory entities also play an important influence in propelling gender inclusivity in healthcare leadership. Enforcing policies that advocates gender balance on corporate boards, leadership panels, and executive teams can incentivize organizations to prioritize diversity and hold them accountable for advancements. Additionally, investing in research and data collection on gender representation in healthcare leadership can offer
insights into underlying obstacles and guide targeted interventions.

Ultimately, achieving gender diversity in healthcare leadership is a strategic necessity for organizations aiming to flourish in a progressively intricate and dynamic healthcare environment. By capitalizing on the complete potential of diverse leadership groups, healthcare establishments can spur innovation, improve patient outcomes, and construct more robust and inclusive healthcare systems for all.