Only 6 percent of funded digital health company CEOs are women

By Aditi Pai
10:30 am

XX in Health reportSome 6 percent of venture-backed digital health companies have female CEOs, according to the latest Rock Health State of Women in Healthcare report.

Additionally, women make up 21 percent of board members as Fortune 500 healthcare companies, 27 percent of board members at top 100 hospitals, and 34 percent of executives at top 100 hospitals.

The dearth of women in digital health is particularly odd because, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 80 percent of a family's healthcare decisions are made by women. The healthcare workforce is overwhelmingly women -- 78 percent. What's more, 75 percent of informal caregivers at home are women. 

A Rock Health survey, conducted by Rock Health's XX in Health initiative, found that 96 percent of the 421 women working in healthcare who responded believe gender discrimination still exists and 45 percent say gender discrimination and lack of respect are their biggest hurdles. Fifty percent of respondents said they had to adopt male behaviors to advance their career and 33 percent said being a female is disadvantageous to their career.

But, Rock Health also identified some potential solutions to the lack of diversity in the digital health workplace. The seed fund pointed to a Babson University report, called Women Entrepreneurs 2014: Bridging the Gender Gap in Venture Capital, which found that VC firms with women partners are two times more likely to invest in companies with a woman on the management team and three times more likely to invest in companies with woman CEOs.

"As a female investor, I don't have the same assumption that a woman shouldn't run this company because there's a possibility that she might run off in five years to have a baby," Venture Valkyrie Managing Partner Lisa Suennen told Rock Health. "I ask male founders, shouldn't you care about your family too?"

Rock Health's XX in Health initiative was launched to connect and empower female professionals in healthcare. The group has more than 4,000 members globally and hosts events in nine cities.

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