Women make up 70% of the total health and social care workforce. In the nursing and midwifery profession, that percentage is even higher. Despite this, however, women hold only 25% of health system leadership roles.
Addressing gender-related barriers to leadership in nursing is critical to ensuring universal access to quality health services and achieving Sustainable Development Goal 3.
Drawing on surveys and interviews with over 2,500 nurses and nurse-leaders, the report offers essential new insights into the lived experiences of nurses worldwide.
At the Women Deliver 2019 Conference, Girls’ Globe spoke to Barbara Stilwell, Executive Director of Nursing Now.
She told us: “This moment in time is a moment for nurses. And I don’t think it will come again for a long time.”
The research found that there are a ‘constellation of barriers’ preventing female nurses in particular from progressing into leadership roles.
Key recommendations to address these barriers include:
1. Change the perception of the nursing as a ‘soft science’ and elevate the status and profile of nursing in the health sector.
2. Address occupational sex segregation and eliminate the perception of nursing as ‘women’s work.’
3. Eliminate employer discrimination on the basis of gender or child-bearing status.
4. Build nurses’ self-confidence and sense of preparedness to assume leadership positions.
5. Ensure workplace environments that are safe and responsive to work/life balance and allow for employee flexibility to fulfil both formal work and unpaid care responsibilities.
6. Ensure opportunities for nurses to access funding for leadership development, higher education, or other professional development.
7. Foster increased access to professional networks and mentoring schemes for nurses.
It’s clear that major changes are required to strengthen leadership and equality in the global nursing workforce. This report reflects the voices of nurses – it’s time for the rest of the world to listen.
This blog post was created by Girls’ Globe powered by Johnson & Johnson.