Female healthcare execs in Mich. buck national leadership trends

The ratio of female executives who run hospitals, mental health and community healthcare organizations in Jackson, Mich., defies a national trend, according to mlive.com.

In Jackson County, women lead almost all the major health organizations, in contrast with national trends. Nationwide, 4 percent of healthcare organization CEOs and 18 percent of hospital CEOs are women, even though they make up 73 percent of medical and healthcare managers across the country.

Women in Jackson County have a long history of serving in leadership positions, according to Molly Kaser, R.N., CEO of the Center for Family Health. For example, Georgia Fojtasek, R.N., celebrated her 20th anniversary as CEO of Allegiance Health this month.

"I don't think anyone here really thinks much of it, it's the way it has been for a long time," Kaser told mlive.com. "I don't think anyone in this town really blinked when all of this occurred."

But the female leadership in Jackson County is an anomaly considering some barriers women healthcare executives face in the workplace. For example, women's salaries are 35 percent lower on average than men in similar positions, according to a healthcare leadership and gender study of 157 female and 125 male C-suite healthcare executives conducted by Diversified Search and the Women's Leadership Center at Kennesaw State University.

The survey also revealed:

  • A significantly greater number of women than men were promoted from within their organizations, while men were more likely to be hired from outside;
  • Forty-four percent of women had a nursing background, while 66 percent of men had a finance, medicine or general admission background;
  • More women than men cited the following factors as valuable to their careers: access to flexible work practices, support from family members, networking within their organizations, leadership abilities, involvement in professional/community groups and having sponsors to endorse them; and
  • Significantly more women reported the following as challenges to their careers: lack of supportive supervisors, exclusion from informal networks, absence of senior role models, inhospitable culture/biased attitudes and failure of senior leadership to help in advancement. 

Some hospitals are using work-life integration to attract female healthcare leaders, FierceHealthcare previously reported. For example, Stanford (Calif.) School of Medicine launched a program to make its flexibility policies--such as unpaid leave for up to a year after the birth or adoption of a child, up to $5,000 in grants a year for childcare and on-site childcare options--a key component of the faculty advancement process.

To learn more:
- here's the article
- read the study findings