Healthcare is a complex setting that involves numerous professions working together for a single goal; to enhance health services. On the other side, there is very little focus on the gender equality of these professionals and their impact on healthcare performance. Especially, women’s right to gain better healthcare services has been reiterated multiple times. But their contribution to public health care is never brought upfront. However, undeniably, women play an important role in better services and promotion in the healthcare sector.
When it comes to women working in healthcare settings, most people never think of their role beyond nursing. In reality, women are also covering leadership roles in public health such as executive roles, policy-making, etc. Women are both primary consumers and top performers in the public health care sector. But still, there are huge barriers in numerous countries and among women of color that hinder empowerment. There is a dire need to address both the achievements and the challenges they face in public health care. With that said, let’s discuss women’s top contributions to public health and the major issues they face in their careers.
Role of women in the public healthcare
As said earlier, women have critically important positions in the healthcare sector. Be it the midwives, nurses, community workers, or doctors; women cover both traditional and higher-level positions. No wonder women aspirants are drawn towards numerous types of public health jobs to achieve their career goals. The main reason behind it is the rewarding opportunities and critical demand of professionals. For that instance, aspirants are pursuing professional education to fill the meaningful voids in the sector.
According to research, around 90% of the nurses around the world are women. That gives clear insights into their direct contribution to the most demanding role in the healthcare sector. Meanwhile, 60% of employees entering healthcare are women. In short, women comprise a large part of the healthcare sector, and these numbers are on the course of growth in the future. The clinical outcomes also vary with gender-based treatment in hospitals and healthcare organisations. For instance, female patients are more likely to show positive outcomes when treated by female doctors than being treated by male professionals.
Moreover, workforce collaboration also goes hand in hand with the gender combination. A study explains that male doctors can efficiently treat heart attack patients with collaboration with female doctors. With these studies and the rising population of women patients, the statistics show the clear importance of gender diversity in healthcare.
Challenges women face in the public healthcare
The challenges for the women working in health care also need special attention. Despite the major contribution, women still face gender-based inequality, violence, and a lack of empowerment in some parts of the world. As the roles continue to expand for the existing professions, the demand for new professionals also increases. With the rising number of patients being women, there is a dire need for women in public health to fill multiple roles as female patients are often found to be more comfortable with female doctors/nurses. One of the top challenges women are experiencing today is the workplace environment. The workplace burnout from multiple roles holds them back. Moreover, they are also exposed to the threats like gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and bias.
Workspace burnout means stress and depression from losing the patients and staying away from the family. As the pandemic wreaks havoc globally, women nurses and physicians are more prone to this work burnout. On the other side, many developed and under-developed countries report work discrimination which needs prime attention from the healthcare policymakers. Only this way can authorities call to take action and remove these disparities to ensure more empowerment to fill the voids and gender gaps in the healthcare sector.
Benefits women achieve while working in public healthcare
Apart from women’s diverse and important role, gender diversity also adds perks for the women working in the sector. A survey from the healthcare sector reveals that women are more likely to earn promotions as compared to men. On the other side, while professionals of both genders seek higher salary potential, women are found more successful in gaining a raise while working in healthcare. This is the reason why they are more able to change the status quo. Moreover, they enjoy higher career satisfaction than men. Today, most nursing and healthcare providers reveal that the reason to join a career in this sector is to make a difference to the whole world.
Now, with COVID-19 still soaring high around the globe, the frontline also involves women nurses and doctors to treat the infections. More and more women are joining the healthcare sector and becoming the heroes of the pandemic era.
The ongoing pandemic has done affected women working in every sector around the globe. Meanwhile, accelerating the empowerment and removal of disparities is the key to ensuring success and tackling the pandemic. Authorities must support women groups in the sector and also boost their training to fill the ever-rising demand. Only this way, the healthcare sector can achieve gender equality and drive better healthcare services and outcomes.
Ellen Diamond did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She has a particular interest in mental health and well-being.
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