The picture is used for representational purpose only
By: Dr. Pooja Bhagwan Sawale
Healthcare is a sector which is dominated by women workforce worldwide. Majority of the service jobs in healthcare are done by women. A number of healthcare organisations are run my Catholic nuns independently. However, contrasting this large number of female workforce, the top positions in healthcare are occupied by males. This poses the question as to what it is that is causing hindrance to women from getting the higher posts in healthcare.
Similar to other managerial jobs, women working in health sector face difficulties of societal factors, prejudices and biases, lack of governmental interventions, structural barriers and lack of monitoring. These factors are leading to under representation of women in leadership roles in health and healthcare sector.
The field of healthcare do have managerial roles, but this field has altogether very different views and roles regarding job or work in relation to other fields. It deals with human lives where physical, mental, emotional as well as economic decisions are involved. Health is basic need of human life and its management needs to have a complete different view than other sectors. And looking at the kind of work involved, women leadership in this field can be immensely helpful and appreciable.
The first thing a patient needs is a person who listens to his problems and grievances and tries to understand his difficulties. Nature of women is very compassionate and empathetic and this nature makes a woman leader to take up good decisions for patient’s concerns. The good emotional intelligence in women makes them act responsibly towards community.
India is a country of many deprived and marginalised communities, where women do not have voice to speak up, some are ignorant about health and others do not reveal because of shyness. A woman leader can understand these problems better and can bring about good reforms. Also, being a woman, community can easily go up to the higher authorities and can talk about their health concerns comfortably and finding solutions to their problems will be more easier as community itself will be involved.
Nowadays healthcare sector is more reliable on the people within the community itself and for that majority of workers are women who are coming forward for health services. They comprise the nurses, ASHA’s, Community health workers etc. With a women leader it becomes easier for the workers to approach their leader and communicate. Also they will have a feeling of safety at work place which will encourage them to perform well in their jobs.
As women are indulged in various activities like family as well as work, they have good management skills to handle the various sections in healthcare and healthcare delivery can be carried out more effectively and efficiently.
There is not a single reason but a number of positive qualities which women have which can definitely make them good leaders. The qualities encompassed within them will undeniably help in bringing good reforms in healthcare. This will also ensure gender equality and equity in healthcare. Interventions should be taken up to make the utmost use of the qualities that women possess to motivate them as to not limit themselves to service roles, but also to make use of their traits in delivering a good service to people with decision making and delivering powers in their hands.
The writer, Dr. Pooja Bhagwan Sawale is currently pursuing Masters in Public Health- Social Epidemiology, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai