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Women facing ‘barriers to leadership’ in NHS

18 July 2013

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Women are facing “barriers” to becoming senior leaders in the NHS, a new study has revealed. 

A study published by The King’s Fund has shown that despite women making up three-quarters of the NHS workforce, just 37% of senior roles on CCG governing bodies and NHS provider boards are held by women. 

Although women make up 81% of the non-medical workforce in the NHS, men constitute the majority of leadership teams in 88% of providers and 90% of CCGs. 

Sexual discrimination has been experienced by a significant minority of women who work in healthcare. 

Over a third (37%) of women who responded to the survey said they had encountered sexual discrimination. More than half of respondents said they had been bullied in the workplace. 

Nicola Hartley, director of leadership development at The King’s Fund said: “Although women make up the large majority of the NHS workforce, they remain seriously underrepresented in leadership. 

“These survey results, which chime with what we are told by the women we work with, show that they face serious obstacles in gaining senior roles. There some great women leaders in healthcare but the pace of change has been incredibly slow.” 

Hartley said that the findings should “act as a prompt” to examine why the heath service has too few women in the most senior roles. 

The research was carried out in partnership with the Health Service Journal.