We have a parity problem in the health industry!
Scanning the many health industry events, it’s clear that there’s a shortage of women C-level executives in keynote positions or in prime speaking roles on health conference agendas. In full transparency, the percent of executive women speakers at HLTH was just shy of 20 percent – in line with the industry averages, yet way below what any of us should be satisfied with!
In the run up to our inaugural HLTH event, which took place in May of 2018, the HLTH Content Team reached out to hundreds of disruptors to identify executives who were transforming the health industry through innovative science, technologies, strategies and investments. It didn’t take long before we recognized that we weren’t receiving an equal ratio of recommendations for female to male speakers. In fact, by the time we had secured our first 25 speakers, only four of them were women. How is it that, even though we had put a call out and a push on to shore up the parity disparity, we still had to over-index to close the gap?
It’s not that there aren’t amazing women in leadership roles across the health ecosystem: it’s that there aren’t an equal ratio of women in C-Suite or on Board of Director positions. While women hold 75 percent of health care jobs, only one-third of hospital executives are women. A 2016 McKinsey analysis finds that the share of women serving leadership roles falls precipitously the higher you go up the ladder. Among Fortune 500 health care firms, only 22 percent of executives and board members are women. There’s also been little change in the startup world, with women accounting for less than 12 percent of digital health CEOs and venture capital partners.
Anything less than gender parity in executive roles across the ecosystem of health is unacceptable! It’s time we buck up and shore up the gap in the percentage of women in executive roles across the ecosystem of health.
As an industry platform, HLTH strives to get women as speakers, but in the current environment, we have to over-index – and this needs to change. Achieving a 50/50 ratio of female to male speakers is a tenable goal, but putting women on stage just because they’re women is not an authentic strategy to achieve parity on podiums. However, putting more women in executive roles because they deserve to be there, empowering them with authority, and recognizing their contributions to advancing health, is.
If women are ever going to achieve parity in the health industry, the entire health community needs to be intentional in increasing awareness and demonstrating actions to provide women the same opportunities as men in “C”-ing us into the future of health!
To demonstrate our commitment to raising awareness for more women leaders in the health industry, HLTH is creating the Health Industry ParityINDEX™ in partnership with Parity.org (as recently announced in our press release). The Health Industry ParityINDEX™ measures the year-over-year change in the percentage of women executives in the health industry. The results of the Health Industry ParityINDEX™, as well as awards for top performers, will be announced annually at the HLTH event, beginning at HLTH 2019, October 27-30, 2019 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
HLTH is also taking the ParityPledge™. Taking the ParityPledge™ is straightforward: companies simply commit their organization to interviewing and considering at least one qualified woman for every open role VP and higher, including the C-Suite and the Board.
HLTH’s goal is to get 1,000 health companies to take the ParityPledge™ before and at HLTH 2019. With that mass, hopefully, we can be one piece of the puzzle to create the change that the industry so desperately needs. #HLTHPledgesParity
The ParityPledge™ was developed by Parity.org, specifically to narrow the gender inequality gap and increase C-Suite women executives across the health industry. Parity.org advocates for women’s representation at the highest levels of business – in the C-Suite and on the Board of Directors. They do this by promoting companies that demonstrate their commitment to gender parity, raising awareness about underlying issues, and providing facts and research that show the value in equal representation.
If the “Triple Aim” seeks to improve patient experience, population health and decrease the cost of care, and the “Quadruple Aim” adds achieving joy, well-being and resilience among care teams, then let’s go for the “Quintuple Aim”, and strive to close the parity disparity gap in the health industry!
Together, HLTH, Parity.org – and all of you – can increase the percentage of women leaders throughout the ecosystem of health. Let’s not wait for someone else to make it so. Let’s bring about the change we want to see – starting now!
HLTH brings together all stakeholders from across the health ecosystem – including health-focused associations – to learn from and collaborate with one another and to activate the “potential” and realize the “possible” from innovations that will positively improve health.
HLTH: The Future of Health. Won’t you join us in reimaging and reinventing health – for all?