Gender and leadership in healthcare administration: 21st century progress and challenges

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of Healthcare Management


Volume 53, Issue 5

Inclusive Pages

291-301, discussion 302-303


Health Services Administration--statistics & numerical data; Leadership; Women, Working--statistics & numerical data; Health Administration/Organization; Women's Health


The need for strong leadership and increased diversity is a prominent issue in today's health services workforce. This article reviews the latest literature, including research and proposed agendas, regarding women in executive healthcare leadership. Data suggest that the number of women in leadership roles is increasing, but women remain underrepresented in the top echelons of healthcare leadership, and gender differences exist in the types of leadership roles women do attain. Salary disparity prevails, even when controlling for gender differences in educational attainment, age, and experience. Despite widespread awareness of these problems in the field, current action and policy recommendations are severely lacking. Along with the challenges of cost, quality, and an aging population, the time has come for a more thoughtful, policy-focused approach to amend the discrepancy between gender and leadership in healthcare administration.


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Open Access