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Diversity in Healthcare: Where Are The Ladies? 

2 Jul 2020, by Informa Connect Insights

If you remember, this year’s 2020 theme for International Women’s Day was “Each for Equal”, to advocate for gender equality and human rights. Across industries, women are still being underrepresented in leadership positions due to glass ceilings, gender stereotypes, and more notably country specific socio-economic context. 

Despite an overwhelming number of women in the healthcare industry, its leadership team resembles other industries in its underrepresentation of women in senior management positions. In 2019, Oliver Wyman consultants found that women only make up approximately 30% of c-suite positions and 13% of CEOs in healthcare [1]. 

Determining the success factors of women climbing up the corporate ladder is a complex issue. What makes a female leader successful in healthcare? Here, we spoke to Dr. Chandrika Kambam the Director of Clinical Operations, HealthCare Global Enterprise, India, on her perceptions of perceived success. 

 “The core traits of a leader or to become successful in your chosen field are similar between men and women. They are enumerated as: Strength, Perseverance and Adaptability. 

Strength: We must build our inner strength. Strength to take risks, learn from failures, face unpalatable remarks and insults. We should fight for what we believe in and never give up, no matter how challenging or difficult it is. Being a female leader in male centric business world requires confidence to deal with every obstacle and setback. Being strong doesn’t mean we talk rude, raise our voice or show emotional outbursts, anger etc. We can achieve many things being calm, humble, humility but by consistently and persistently putting our point.  

Perseverance: It’s all up to us how we plan to reach our goals. We should learn to overcome biases, be more objective. Network more and keep a finger on the pulse of our business all the time.  

Adaptability: Every day the demands of our business changes. Some due to internal needs and some due to external factors. E.g COVID-19 pandemic. Being a leader, we should be creative and come up with solutions that will help us to overcome situations both short term and long term.” 

Organizations should also play their part by creating an opportunistic environment to enable growth from within, while maintaining gender neutral in its identification of talents.  

“Organizations can build a support system to help women take care of their families and other personal responsibilities, as well as building a roadmap for career progression based on individual’s aspirations.”  

Nonetheless, leadership succession will necessitate substantial personal investments in time, hard work, and determination. 

“We need to eliminate the demons in our mind. Every individual need to decide how much they want to achieve and how far they aim to achieve in their career.” 

Good leadership is a crucial element for organizations in times of crisis and drastic change; such as the COVID-19 pandemic. While we bravely steer through the unknown, good leadership is more important than ever. Like Dr. Chandrika says,  

The business world is extremely unpredictable and stressful. Its matter of survival every day. 



Dr. Chandrika Kambam
Director, Clinical Operations
HealthCare Global Enterprise, India

Dr. Chandrika is a speaker in the Women in Health Leadership Panel Discussion which is taking place at the Asia Healthcare Week event happening from 1-4 September 2020. The lunch panel will explore the signs of progress on advancement in women in leadership, and how companies are accelerating change in this area. Besides, the session will celebrate the achievements of women in the healthcare sector. For more information, please go to 


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