Women make up almost half of all medical students and a third of academic faculty, but they remain in short supply in the upper ranks of academic medicine, according to The New York Times' Well blog.
Despite similar work engagement and ambitions for leadership roles, only 4 percent of full-time professors and 12 percent of department chiefs are women, concluded a new study in The Journal of General Internal Medicine.
Moreover, female faculty didn't feel as accepted in the healthcare field than their male counterparts. They also had less confidence in their ability to move up in the ranks to healthcare's inner circle, the study found.
The findings follow research showing few seats at the healthcare C-suite table are filled by women. According to June report from RockHealth, which helps digital health start-ups, women make up only 4 percent of healthcare organization CEOs and 18 percent of hospital CEOs.
The gender gap in healthcare leadership doesn't necessarily stem from intentional bias in the industry, according to the NYT. Women still carry most of the familial responsibilities, which can pit career-building against family-building, the blog noted.
To advance in healthcare, not all career moves need to go up. "Never be afraid of moving sideways because you learn a huge amount in different settings," Barbara Young, the first female CEO of Diabetes UK, told The Guardian.