The upper echelons of most industries are often thought of as a man's world, and healthcare is no exception. But new research from the Peterson Institute for International Economics and EY indicates that women who take the reins could boost a hospital's bottom line.
Researchers analyzed data from 22,000 public companies in 91 nations and found that only about 5 percent had a female CEO and more than half had no female executives. However, they also found that just by increasing the percentage of women in top management jobs from 0 to 30 percent, companies could increase profits 15 percent.
Nations where women were better-represented had a few key features in common, Marcus Noland, the Institute's director of studies, told The New York Times. For example, a greater population of school-age girls who earn high scores in math correlated with more female managers, he said, indicating a robust, early educational pipeline is good for gender parity.
The healthcare sector has worked to improve gender parity in the C-suite in recent years, such as a program at Stanford School of Medicine aimed at increasing female executives' flexibility. The program included up to $5,000 a year in grants for childcare and up to a year of unpaid maternity leave, FierceHealthcare previously reported. While the Peterson Institute study found no association between mandatory maternity leave and increased female leadership, there was a correlation between nations with better paternity leave options and women leaders. This may be because such policies divide childcare more evenly, Noland told the Times.
Some regions are bucking the trend for both business at large and healthcare specifically, such as Jackson County, Michigan, where women hold healthcare leadership positions at a rate far above the national average, FierceHealthcare previously reported.