Female Leadership: Pathways to Humanized Medicine – The European Sting – Critical News & Insights on European Politics, Economy, Foreign Affairs, Business & Technology

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This article was written exclusively for The European Sting by Ms. Letícia Teixeira Pinheiro Guerra, a five-year medical student at Centro Universitário Ingá (UNINGÁ), Maringá-PR, Brazil. It is affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA), a cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this article belong strictly to the author and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s point of view on the subject, nor that of The European Sting.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 70% of health professionals are women, however, only 25% hold leadership positions. An example of the gap between the female workforce in the field and their leadership role is the fact that men lead 69% of global health organizations. Moreover, for this report, the process of leveling between the sexes varies according to the level of development of the States. In the Brazilian case, we know that women are in the majority in medical faculties; as shown by the census carried out by the IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics) in 2010, the ratio of students was 96 men for 100 women.

Within the framework of the United Nations, the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) underline the need to achieve an equal, peaceful and healthy world. In this context, the “Women Rise for All” event was carried out by the UN, in order to discuss women’s leadership and the new health and socio-economic challenges due to the COVID19 pandemic. The development of an egalitarian and open society, for the event, would be done by a major participation of women in command positions.

The benefits of women’s participation in leadership roles have effects that could be felt throughout society. As WHO shows, women expand the health agenda, strengthening the system as a whole. The characteristics presented in women are a fundamental reason for the upheaval of practices in the sector. What Brazilians often refer to as the “feminine look” in medicine has to do with women’s ability to understand a patient’s grief and be aware of the best approaches to handling a case. By rising to leadership positions, women could apply their humanized administration skills in health systems in general, increasing the productivity of all workforces, regardless of gender, and the efficiency of the health system, because the differences between men and women elevate the quality. work. These differences, once recognized rather than suppressed, are gains for the human heritage of the health system.

Better representation of women in the positions promoted can have a virtuous effect on future generations. The leadership of a woman can be a model for young female students and doctors, helping to overcome administrative logic. An example of female leadership is currently the director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Dominican Clarissa F. Etienne. Its efforts to coordinate initiatives to overcome COVID19 require the fuller participation of women in the leadership of national institutes of health. For her: “We need more women not only on the front line, but also in leadership”. Therefore, a female leader in medicine not only values ​​the work of the health field, but also evokes a transformation in the way women approach their role in society.

The references

SCHEFFER, Mario Caesar; CASSENOTE, Alex Jones Flores. A feminização da medicina no Brasil. Revista Bioetica, v. 21, no. 2, p. 268-277, 2013.

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION et al. Delivered by women, led by men: A gender and equity analysis of the global health and social care workforce. 2019.

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About the Author

Letícia Teixeira Pinheiro Guerra is a medical student for five years at Centro Universitário Ingá (UNINGÁ), Maringá-PR, Brazil. She has been a member of IFMSA BRAZIL through the UNINGÁ local committee since 2020. She emphasizes that leaders of excellence are models for society, in order to make her believe that she can achieve her goals and, therefore, she contributes to the development of a fairer world.

Mara R. Wilmoth