Despite the important role women play as healthcare consumers and decision-makers, they appear to be underrepresented in healthcare leadership ranks, according to a new report from RockHealth, which helps digital health startups.
Women account for 73 percent of medical and health services managers, but only 4 percent of healthcare organization CEOs and 18 percent of hospital CEOs.
So what's keeping women from getting a seat at the healthcare C-suite table?
Almost 50 percent of survey respondents cited self confidence as a top barrier for advancement in healthcare careers. Forty-five percent reported time constraints, followed by the ability to connect with senior leadership at 43 percent, according to a survey of 100 women in healthcare.
"I feel a little less conﬁdent than my male counterparts to take up leadership or presentation responsibilities within the workplace made to senior male leadership," one survey respondent said.
And because there are fewer female executive leaders, the industry lacks available female mentors to provide career guidance, according to the report.
However, despite the dearth of women executives, female healthcare workers can seek mentorship and professional advice from experienced healthcare execs of any gender, Forbes reported.
The report also shows that having women represented in the executive ranks does more than provide female role models and gender diversity.
"Data shows that women are at the center of healthcare decisions in the family unit and experience the full spectrum of healthcare delivery," said survey respondent Sue Siegel, partner at venture capital firm Mohr Davidow. "As leaders in the healthcare system, women bring firsthand views as customers."