The Paradox of Gender Diversity in Healthcare
Women are the primary healthcare decisions makers for their households and represent 78% of the healthcare workforce. Yet, women are poorly represented in executive leadership teams throughout the healthcare industry. Of the 45 healthcare corporations ranked in The Fortune 500, not one organization has a leadership team which reflects the dominant role women play in their households and in the healthcare workforce.
Rock Health published a study in January of 2016 presenting a breakdown of female leadership within the healthcare industry. On one hand, there are improvements being made in some areas like the growth of female digital health startup CEOs, while other areas such as hospital executives are still vastly male dominated. Only eight of the top 100 hospitals of the Fortune 500’s top hospitals have a woman as CEO. Interestingly, of those 8 hospitals, 4 were awarded the Everest Award (awarded to only 17 hospitals of the Fortune 500’s top 100 hospitals) as recognition for best performance and fastest long term improvement over 5 years. The study shows that between 2014 and 2015 the number of women digital health startup CEOs doubled with 29 digital health startups founded in 2015 by a woman CEO.
Of all the industries analyzed in the article, venture capital is lagging the most in terms of gender diversity. Rock Health highlights the importance of recognizing biases and existing “brogrammer culture” and “boys club” environments in many startups and VC firms. They suggest that the best way to bridge this gender gap is to seek venture capital firms with women partners to advance gender diversity in both the portfolio companies as well as the VC industry, as, “venture capital firms with women partners are twice as likely to invest in a company with a woman on the management team and three times as likely to invest in a company with a woman CEO.” Since 2014 50% of the 28 most active investors, including Google Ventures, NEA, Zaffra Investments, each made at least two investments in a company with a female CEO. This is progress at a 25% increase from the previous year. NEA and Zaffra both have two women partners on their healthcare investment teams.
According to Rock Health, providing mentorship as a way to encourage more women in VC is key, considering the industry requires significant trust between team members and it’s common for men to be “more comfortable” working with each other. True Wealth Ventures proactively invests with a gender-lens and creates strong advisory boards and networks around the portfolio companies to provide the capital and create the space for more female founders to grow their healthcare businesses in a market where they are the vast majority of the healthcare workforce and decision makers!
To read more about the entire study follow the link below.