Equality for women in healthcare: Where are we today? 

Dr. Aaliya Yaqub, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Thrive explains the gender gaps that are still inherent in the healthcare industry and how mental health awareness is improving 

Over 60% of employees in healthcare are women, according to McKinsey, and represent just under 50% of entry-level healthcare jobs. With such a high percentage of women in the healthcare space, the assumption would be that the industry has better equality than other less female-dominated industries. However, that is not the case. 

“There is a huge opportunity to make things more equitable for women in healthcare. We know that female physicians make about 27% less than male physicians in 2023 [according to the American Women’s Medical Association]. We also see trends of female physicians being burdened with greater administrative tasks and being promoted less than their male peers with the same number of years of experience,” explains Dr. Aaliya Yaqub, MD, Chief Medical Officer at our partner, Thrive

The healthcare industry has a long way to go to reach gender equality, from entry-level healthcare jobs all the way to the top doctor level. Dr. Yaqub noted that one of the key things she would like to see is fair and equal pay across the board, something that many professional women across all verticals still do not have. However, the needs of women in healthcare also extend to additional parental needs and flexibility. 

“It’s also important to see childcare benefits, paid maternity leave, and greater flexibility with start and end times. Physician burnout is, unfortunately, occurring at unprecedented levels, and many physicians are considering leaving clinical medicine,” Dr. Yaqub noted. 

Burnout and mental health 

The field of medicine tends to also still categorize women into the archaic fragile, emotional stereotypes that they have worked so hard to overcome for so many years. 

“Stereotypes still exist within our very hierarchical medical training institutions, academic centers, and even in private practice settings. However, we have started to see a societal shift in how we view wellness, self-care, and mental health. Organizations and employers within healthcare are seeing the impact of burnout and unregulated stress. Both men and women are impacted, so the female stereotypes are less relevant. However, we do know that women, on the whole, experience higher levels of stress and burnout as compared to their male counterparts. Women often bear the brunt of caregiving responsibilities for children, disabled or chronically ill family members, and aging parents,” said Dr. Yaqub.  

This greater awareness around burnout and mental health risks in the healthcare industry has led to new programs in a variety of healthcare systems that address nurse burnout risk factors and, according to Dr. Yaqub, there is an investment in making physical spaces in hospital environments more conducive to self-care and breaks that can be rejuvenating during a difficult shift.  

“We also see the incredible impact of the Thrive Global Foundation, which through its partnership with Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Creative Artists Agency, and the Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes’ Foundation launched ALL IN: WellBeing First for Healthcare to invest in solutions to improve the well-being of the healthcare workforce and eliminate persistent mental health and well-being challenges that disadvantage our health workers, and therefore, the future of public health,” noted Dr. Yaqub.

Thrive is a Markaaz Dashboard partner, offering our small business members access to mental health and wellness resources to help their teams thrive in the modern workplace. Thrive’s initiatives are not just small business-focused, however, and they count industry giants such as Salesforce, Microsoft, Bank of America, and more as clients.  

Learn how to help your team’s mental health in the workplace at www.thriveglobal.com 

Talk to our team about becoming a Markaaz Dashboard partner!

Dr. Aaliya Yaqub, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Thrive 

Dr. Aaliya Yaqub is the Chief Medical Officer at Thrive Global. Dr. Yaqub is a Board-certified Internal Medicine physician with years of experience as a leader in tech, medicine, and mental health. Dr. Yaqub received her M.D. from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and completed her residency and fellowship training at Stanford Hospital & Clinics. At Thrive, Dr. Yaqub: Oversees our Scientific Advisory Board; Leads the charge in expanding our offerings into the healthcare space; Champions an upstream approach to well-being with a focus on prevention and habit formation; Serves as a leading facilitator for customer engagements, including workshops and webinars. 

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