Beyond the glass ceiling: future directions in healthcare

8th March 2023, 2.30 pm - 3.30 pm

Building on research projects carried out by the Advanced School of Health Economics and Management (ALTEMS) and presented in a previous webinar, we will discuss progress and open issues in overcoming the “class ceiling” (Loden, 1978) in healthcare systems. Though women constitute the vast majority of healthcare workforce in many countries, their career ladders and opportunities of growth are frequently still more problematic than those of male colleagues.

Several studies have shown that women and minority group members in healthcare face significant challenges in career advancement, which is attributed to the glass ceiling effect. Women continue to be severely underrepresented in top leadership roles in healthcare, even though they make up the great majority of the specialized healthcare workforce (Bismark et al., 2015; Fontenot, 2012; Hopkins et al., 2006; Hoss et al., 2011; Lantz, 2008). The literature suggests that the glass ceiling is particularly prevalent in clinical roles, such as physicians and nurses, where men have traditionally dominated. Women are also underrepresented in leadership roles, such as hospital administrators and executives. According to a study conducted by Korn Ferry Institute, only 13% of healthcare CEOs are women, despite women making up a significant portion of the healthcare workforce (Korn Ferry Institute, 2021). In addition, women account for a little over one quarter of board members of publicly listed companies in the EU (28%), and for less than one fifth of senior executives (18%) in 2019. In other words, although representing approximately half of all employed persons in the EU, women continue to be under-represented amongst managers. This statistic highlights the prevalence of the glass ceiling within healthcare and the need for action to be taken to address this issue.

The main barriers held responsible for gender equality in healthcare sector include the triple burden:

  1. Domestic, clinical and leadership roles, which result in higher burnout rates;

  2. Poor career management (Sexton et al., 2014);

  3. Gender-related stereotypes, unequal career opportunities and gender-related pay gap (Newman, 2011).

The webinar will provide a unique opportunity to discuss the “state of the art” of interventions aimed at covering these gaps, highlighting both pros and cons of healthcare organizations’ cultures and environment. Top managers in the healthcare sector will answer questions of participants, sharing their experience and point of view on this topic.


2.30 – 2.35 pm

Dr. Federica Margheri


2.35 – 2.55 pm

Dr. Federica Morandi, Director of training programs at ALTEMS and Researcher

Dr. Ilaria Valentini, Researcher at ALTEMS

Overview of research results of ALTEMS

2.55 – 3.25 pm:

Dr. Irene Gabutti, Researcher at ALTEMS

Questions & Answers from the experts

Prof. Americo Cicchetti, Director of ALTEMS

Dr. Annarita Panebianco, Medical Director, IDI-IRCCS

Ing. Elena Sini, Information Systems Director, GVM CARE & RESEARCH

3.25 – 3.30  pm

Dr. Federica Margheri


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