New York, United States & Mumbai, Maharashtra, India:
Today, amidst hundreds of fellow changemakers at the prestigious Clinton Global (CGI) 2023 Meeting in New York, Dasra launched its Women in Leadership Initiative to advance gender equity in Indian healthcare leadership, accelerating progress toward Sustainable Development Goal 5.
In line with the G20 Leaders’ Declaration to encourage women-led development commitment to enhancing women’s full, equal, effective, and meaningful participation as decision-makers for addressing global challenges, this landmark event marks a pivotal moment in addressing gender disparity in formal workplaces and sets the stage for a transformational journey towards gender equality and inclusive leadership.
Women in Leadership-Healthcare Initiative
The Women in Leadership-Healthcare Initiative is a multi-partner initiative that is focused on addressing a fundamental question: Where are the women leaders in healthcare? It brings together a coalition of organizations across the private and public healthcare sector, organisational change, research, data, and civil society, etc. The intent is to transform the gender equality rhetoric to action by creating repeatable and scalable models that can be applied across fields starting with healthcare and eventually extended and customized to law, economics, and STEM.
“For over two decades, Dasra has championed gender equity, from empowering adolescent girls to fostering women’s political participation and safeguarding informal women workers. Today, as we launch the Women in Leadership initiative, we embark on a first-of-a-kind initiative, collaborating with government, civil society, and the private sector to propel women from mid-career positions into leadership roles,” expressed Shailja Mehta, Director at Dasra.
Women In Leadership: A leaky pipeline
The United Nations Gender Snapshot 2023 calls out the lack of women in leadership as one of the top hurdles for gender equality in the world. When gender is overlaid with colonial history and the skewed power relations between the global north and the majority world, the picture gets worse. Global Health 5050 analyzed 2000 board seats across ~150 leading global organizations active in the health sector. They found that 44% of board seats were held by men from high-income countries – and only 1% of seats were held by women from low-income countries.
Indian Healthcare leadership: A snapshot
Women account for half of the healthcare workforce, around 50%, yet they are significantly underrepresented in leadership positions, particularly at the executive and board levels. Women in healthcare are concentrated on the frontline in low-paying jobs. In India, 29% of medical doctors, 80% of nursing staff (including midwives), and nearly 100% of Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) are women. And yet, women occupy only 18% of healthcare leadership positions and continue to earn 34% lesser than their male counterparts.
To map the status of leadership and representation in the Indian healthcare ecosystem, Dasra kicked off a landscape study to collect primary qualitative data and conduct an analysis of macro-trends across healthcare sub-sectors. The research shows that currently, within private hospitals—which employ 54% of the total healthcare workforce—women hold about 25-30% of leadership positions. The Pharmaceutical and Biotech sectors paint a contrasting picture, with women occupying only 5-10% of these positions. In the next decade, exponential growth is anticipated across all sub-sectors, including health technology wherein employment is expected to increase by 22.5%, thus offering a unique opportunity for leadership to wield substantial influence and shape the industry’s trajectory in India.
The initiative underscores that the onus is on organizations to champion gender-equitable workforces. To enable organization-wide change, Dasra stands committed to leveraging collective strength, resources, and expertise to amplify impact and foster a resounding collective voice. A first step in that direction is the upcoming launch of a landscape report that encapsulates the status of leadership in the Indian healthcare ecosystem, barriers and opportunities for women to advance.
Dasra meaning ‘enlightened giving’ in Sanskrit, is a pioneering strategic philanthropic organization that aims to transform India where a billion thrive with dignity and equity. A gender equity, diversity and inclusion (GEDI) lens is built in across its initiatives to ensure representation across gender, caste, religion, economic status, geography, disability and other underrepresented identities. Dasra’s work over the last 20+ years has had an emphasis on gender equity through their work on adolescent girls’ health, education and empowerment; women’s political and local participation; and protection of informal women workers.
For more details, please reach out to: Sai Mandlik at [email protected] or alternatively, you can get in touch with our team at [email protected]
About the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI)
Founded by President Bill Clinton in 2005, the Clinton Global Initiative is a community of doers representing a broad cross section of society and dedicated to the idea that we can accomplish more together than we can apart. Through CGI’s unique model, more than 9,000 organizations have launched more than 3,900 Commitments to Action — new, specific, and measurable projects and programs. Learn more about the Clinton Global Initiative and how you can get involved at www.clintonglobal.org.