Time for Women to 'Lean In' to Healthcare Leadership Roles

Chelsea Rice, for HealthLeaders Media , April 1, 2013

Two decades after entering the workforce, Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, former VP at Google, former economist at the World Bank and a director on multiple boards is impatient with the progress of women in the workplace, particularly in the boardroom.

"Our revolution has stalled," she writes in Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.

In the book, released last month, Sandberg discusses how when she entered the workforce in the early 1990s, she was surprised at how few women were in the executive positions, but thought this would change dramatically over the course of her career.

Today she is 43 years old, in the C-suite of one of the most successful companies in the United States, and serves as a director at many others including Starbucks, the Brookings Institution, the Google Foundation, and until a year ago, ehealth, Inc. But she's not finding the parity she had anticipated.

The numbers are bleak. Women held 4.2% of Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 CEO positions in 2012. That's only 4.2% growth since 1995, when there were four female CEOs on the Fortune 500 list.

With women representing 46% of the workforce of the United States, but only barely breaking through the Fortune 500 list, twenty years' worth of progress doesn't feel like much.

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2 comments on "Time for Women to 'Lean In' to Healthcare Leadership Roles"

Unfortunately and still today, the woman has a big problem. You must choose between personal life and work life and also must do so on occasions, repeatedly and that leads to not want to ascend to great works that can limit your personal life. I think that it is very difficult to give a solution to this problem. I don't have it

Phyllis Kritek, RN, PhD (4/2/2013 at 10:20 AM)
I read this report with fascination. It reflects the chronic blind spot Health Leaders Media tends to perpetuate. Most C suites have a woman, the Chief Nursing Officer who is usually a woman, providing leadership of the largest portion of the work force doing the work most directly related to the organization's mission: patient care. Yet there is a tendency to ignore this resource pool for CEO and COO positions. And of course, yes, they have a clinical background. Wouldn't it be interesting to find out why this resource pool is ignored or passed over? I often wonder what CEOs would do if confronted with the leadership challenges managed by most CNOs.




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