Women as managers in the health services

Curationis. 1989 Jul;12(1-2):5-8. doi: 10.4102/curationis.v12i1/2.328.

Abstract

Despite their numerical superiority women do not occupy positions of power and authority in the health services generally. This is perceived as being due to a variety of factors which prevent women from realising their full potential as managers. In other parts of the world, as well as in South Africa, middle class white males have dominated health services, since medicine became a formal science, usurping the traditional role of women healers. Some research indicates that women are inclined to practice "feminine" management styles. It is suggested that the feminine/masculine dichotomy is artificial and that qualities which ensure effective management should not be regarded as gender-linked. Leaders in the health services should strive for interdisciplinary, mixed-gender education and training at all levels. Identification and development of management potential in women health-care professionals, role-modelling and sponsor-mentor relationships should be encouraged to allow women to acquire the full range of management skills and to achieve positions of power and authority in the health services.

PIP: Despite their numerical superiority, women do not occupy positions of power and authority in the health services generally. This is perceived as being due to a variety of factors which prevent women from realizing their full potential as managers. In other parts of the world, as well as in South Africa, middle class white males have dominated health services, since medicine became a formal science, usurping the traditional role of women healers. Research indicates that women are inclined to practice "feminine" management styles. It is suggested that the feminine/masculine dichotomy is artificial and that qualities which ensure effective management should not be regarded as gender-linked. Leaders in the health services should strive for interdisciplinary, mixed-gender education and training at all levels. Identification and development of management potential in women healthcare professionals, role-modelling, and sponsor-mentor relationships should be encouraged to allow women to acquire the full range of management skills and to achieve positions of power and authority in the health services. (author's)

MeSH terms

  • Administrative Personnel / psychology
  • Administrative Personnel / trends*
  • Female
  • Gender Identity
  • Health Services Administration*
  • Humans
  • South Africa
  • Women
  • Women, Working / psychology*