Female leadership in the healthcare sector: Possible solutions and facilitators. A case study

Journal title MECOSAN
Author/s Paola Paoloni, Francesca Dal Mas, Amelia Barcellini
Publishing Year 2022 Issue 2021/120
Language Italian Pages 22 P. 83-104 File size 290 KB
DOI 10.3280/MESA2021-120006
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Objective The paper aims to deepen the issues related to female leadership of healthcare organizations, identifying, in the international literature and through a case study, the relevant characteristics that impact gender equality. The article investigates the possible solutions and tools that can support and foster female leadership in healthcare to see how the role of women leaders can be strengthened. Methodology The article employs a case study methodology about the National Center for Oncological Hadrontherapy (CNAO Foundation) of Pavia, Italy. The CNAO Foundation is characterized by a predominantly female middle management (of the 130 employees, 66 are women, 30 of whom are mothers). Women lead the scientific, medical, technical-nursing direc tion. They also hold the responsibility of Communication and PR, Quality and Regulatory Affairs, Accounting and Finance, Clinical Administration, Human Resources, Supply Chain and General Services. Of the 12 current medical doctors, 10 are women, including the Medical Director, in contrast to the international average (for which only 25% of doctors in a hospital environment are women). Results The analysis conducted through the CAOS framework model allows determining some operational tools to facilitate women’s access to leadership positions in the healthcare sector. The paper reports the flexibility solutions adequately applied during the emergency period caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The results make it possible to propose new tools to enhance women’s role in healthcare management in highly multidisciplinary areas with a high impact on innovation and technology. Theoretical implications The article contributes to the topic of gender diversity in healthcare companies, with particular reference to the barriers, advantages, and operational tools to facilitate female leadership. Operational implications The CNAO Foundation’s experience, adequately grounded on the current literature, makes it possible to identify some best practices of concrete applicability for healthcare companies, stimulating any comparative studies.

Keywords: female leadership, gender research, CNAO Foundation, Covid-19, women in healthcare.

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