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Business & Profession Professional Development

Why Aren’t Women Winning?

At a Glance

  • Women are an ever-increasing segment of the medical workforce, but are far less commonly seen in leadership roles than men
  • Combining personal and professional priorities is often more difficult for women than for men in similar positions
  • Women don't receive the same degree of quality or sponsorship in their mentoring as men
  • Encouraging and promoting women in high-level careers improves an organization's performance and chances of success

Women are a rising force in medicine worldwide, but this is particularly evident in American ophthalmology, where nearly as many women as men are now graduating. In Europe, women make up 58 percent of physicians under the age of 35 in France; 64 percent in Spain; and 54 percent in the UK, where they are expected to outnumber male doctors by 2017 (1). In the United States, women comprise 34 percent of physicians and surgeons and 37 percent of medical school faculty, but 48 percent of medical graduates (2), suggesting a more even split in the future. It’s good news that more people are realizing – and acting on the fact – that women have the same intelligence, education and commitment to their chosen professions as men. But even as this kind of progress is made, the top positions in today’s businesses, clinical practices, and professional societies, are still dominated by men. Women can and do make a difference in the workplace – that’s certainly evidenced in the data presented by McKinsey and Company in their 2013 Women Matter report (3), in which they explained that:

  • Companies with women in executive leadership significantly outperform those without.
  • Companies with women at the top show a 47 percent higher return on equity and 55 percent greater average earnings.
  • Diversity of thought drives innovation. When it isn’t only men discussing issues, the debate often leads to better solutions.
  • Companies are becoming more sensitized to increasing the number of women in leadership positions.

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About the Author

marsha link

Marsha Link


<span lang="EN-US">Marsha Link is the president of Ophthalmic Women Leaders. She is principal of Link Consulting, a firm specializing in executive coaching, leadership development and practice management.</span>

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