Women in medicine soon will no longer be the minority, according to Rock Health’s 2012 report,  “Women in Healthcare”  that was based on a survey.

Women comprise 47% of medical school graduates and 32% of physicians and surgeons.

As culture is slow to change, that doesn’t mean it has become dramatically easier for most women to develop leadership positions in medicine. Today although women represent 73% of medical and health services managers, only 18 percent of hospital CEOs are women. When women physicians were asked about barriers to career advancement, self confidence topped the list at 49%.

Barriers to advancement in medicine, according to the women physicians surveyed:

  • 49% mentioned self-confidence
  • 45% mentioned time constraints
  • 43% mentioned ability to connect with senior leadership
  • 41% mentioned family obligations
  • 16% mentioned education/skills

Fear is at the root of so many of the barriers that hold women back from having the impact they are passionate about. In Sheryl Sandberg’s words:

“Fear of not being liked. Fear of making the wrong choice. Fear of drawing negative attention. Fear of being judged. Fear of failure. And the holy trinity of fear: the fear of being a bad mother/wife/daughter.”

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

Donna Cryer, Chairman of the Board, American Liver Association/CEO Cryer Health recommended:

“Find and focus on the impact you want to make. Plan for push-back. That makes it much easier to persist, to overcome the inevitable challenges, to seize the right opportunities…to rally not only your own, but others’ resources, time, skill, and talent around your goals.”

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