Women, Peace & Security

Canada’s chief medical officers put women’s leadership in spotlight

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An article by Sadiya Ansari shines a light on the exception leadership provided by Canada’s women chief medical officers.

Key points:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has made [Dr. Heather] Morrison and other chief public health officers and chief medical officers celebrities, and a significant number of these evidence-loving rockstars are women.
  • Of the 14 provincial and national chief medical officers and public health officers, 7 are women including Canada’s chief medical officer, Dr. Theresa Tam. There are also women in public health officer roles in major cities such as Toronto and Ottawa.
  • There’s hope that the high profile afforded to women chief medical officers could influence a generation of girls behind them.
  • Although the vast majority of health and social assistance workers are women, 81.25 percent, and 55 percent of new medical students are women, the proportions of women in leadership positions are another story. Only 12 per cent of Canada’s deans of medicine were women in numbers compiled for 2018-19 – and there have been only 7 in the country’s history.
  • In Canada, Ottawa-based researcher Ivy Lynn Bourgeault has been collecting data for a project with Women and Gender Equality Canada. Bourgeault, who holds the University of Ottawa’s research chair in gender, diversity and the professions, says the gender leadership gap is clear: women are underrepresented in the most prestigious leadership roles in health, like deans or CEOs of large research hospitals, and second, they are proportionally underrepresented in other leadership roles.

Read the full article here.