Gender Discrimination Disrupts Healthcare Industry

Survey of gender discrimination in health care industry is discouraging

A recent survey of more than 600 women in the health care industry by Rock Health shows that while some progress is being made, the representation of women in health leadership is growing at a “frustratingly glacial pace.”

Rock Health, which administers the first venture fund dedicated to digital health care, assembled the eight most surprising and noteworthy findings about women in health care, with an emphasis on discrimination. The findings were reported in Forbes magazine.

Pessimism: Women are more cynical about advancements in their careers than in the past. More than half the women working in the health care sector believe gender parity in their fields is still 25 years out. A lower percentage of women in leadership positions might account for the gloomy outlook.

Location, location: In the Northeast, 12.5 percent of all digital health firms are led by a woman. Here in the Midwest the outlook is bleak – women CEOs in digital health companies occur only 3 percent of the time. In the South only 8 percent are female CEOs.

Gender switch:In companies with fewer females, women are more likely to act more like their male counterparts. Rock Health found “a strong correlation between the percentage of women employees and exhibiting male traits.” The takeaway from this is the women are adapting to their environment and are more at ease expressing feminine traits when they are amongst other women.

Size matters:Smaller health care facilities of fewer than 10 workers are most likely to say their companies support women leaders.

Survey says:Digital health care firms with a higher percentage of females in leadership roles have higher ratings from their employees. According to Rock Health, “the average rating of a company culture on a scale of 1-10 was a striking 5.5. Firms with 50 percent or more women executives had an average rating of 8.6”

Racial barriers:A whopping 86 percent of African-American women in the survey said race is “very much” a barrier to advancement, compared to just 9 percent of white women. Asian women said that their race proved to be a challenge to advancement as well.

Ageism of all types:Across the spectrum, women said age was an issue. Women in their 20s said they are being harshly judged for lack of experience. Women in their 30s said family obligations posed challenges. And women over 50 face age discrimination worse than that of men over 50.

Eating their young:The Rock Health team said women do not support one another as expected. In fact, women reported they were bullied or were “intentionally derailing” other women’s progress. And women think other women make good managers, but they don’t want to work for them.


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