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Why more female board members in healthcare organizations are needed

The diagnosis for healthcare today is concerning: healthcare boards need more women. There are many benefits of female board members for healthcare organizations. Gender diversity on healthcare boards accelerates innovation, creates greater revenue, improves corporate governance and enhances crisis management. For example, organizations where women held a third of board seats have generally outperformed their peers during the COVID-19 crisis. But, despite the obvious benefits of women on healthcare boards, healthcare organizations are lagging on board gender equity. Below are the current statistics on gender bias in healthcare boards:

7 steps to ensure a balance of women on healthcare boards

Fortunately, organizations can start improving gender equity on their boards today. Here are seven steps you can take to ensure you have a proper balance of women on healthcare boards.
 

Consider gender equity through the lens of a high-performing, talent-centric board

High-performing boards that are free of gender bias in healthcare promote diversity, enable their members to reach their potential and work effectively in teams. Use the three questions below to determine whether your board is meeting these goals.

  • Element 1: Board diversity. Does the composition of your board support strategic decision-making? Is your board diverse across gender, race, ethnicity, geography and cognitive styles?
  • Element 2: Board effectiveness. Have you enabled your board members to reach their potential? Do board members give and receive feedback? Do you offer development opportunities to help board members build their knowledge, experience and leadership style?
  • Element 3: Board team effectiveness. How well does your board work together as a team? Do they understand their role and responsibilities on the board as individuals and as a collective? How well do they collaborate, share ideas and resolve conflicts?

Make female healthcare board equity a strategic goal

The first step toward gender equity is not to recruit women on healthcare boards. It’s making gender equity part of your overall strategy so you have evidence of your commitment.
 
Look at your organization’s mission, vision and values. Ensure that you’re recruiting potential board members who support your core strategic imperatives and mesh with your organization’s values. Train everyone to recognize that gender equity can help fulfill your mission and vision and align with your strategy.
 

3 Create a diversity, equity and inclusion plan that includes board gender equity

First, you must understand what gender equity goals are realistic for your board to achieve. To learn where your board is and where it can go, ask a series of questions:
  • What roadblocks prevent you from recruiting and developing women on healthcare boards?
  • What role does conscious and unconscious bias play in hampering your efforts to promote gender equity?
  • What do your statistics reveal about the extent and depth of gender inequity or gender bias on your board?
As you build your plan, include an assessment of your board’s strengths, challenges, opportunities, gaps and needs. Make sure the plan also sets reasonable goals, outlines your strategies and sets metrics for measuring your progress. Finally, the plan should include steps for implementation as well as communication strategies and tactics.
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

It’s time to build an inclusive and diverse organization

4 Create a diversity, equity and inclusion plan that includes board gender equity

First, you must understand what gender equity goals are realistic for your board to achieve. To learn where your board is and where it can go, ask a series of questions:
  • What roadblocks prevent you from recruiting and developing women on healthcare boards?
  • What role does conscious and unconscious bias play in hampering your efforts to promote gender equity?
  • What do your statistics reveal about the extent and depth of gender inequity or gender bias on your board?
As you build your plan, include an assessment of your board’s strengths, challenges, opportunities, gaps and needs. Make sure the plan also sets reasonable goals, outlines your strategies and sets metrics for measuring your progress. Finally, the plan should include steps for implementation as well as communication strategies and tactics.
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

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