Podcast: Women as the Heartbeat of Healthcare

Electrical engineer, Jill Tietjen, joins us to discuss why women are underrepresented in leadership.

This year marks the hundredth anniversary of women being able to vote in the United States. In this episode of the Oliver Wyman Health Podcast, recorded in honor in International Women's Day, we're talking about gender parity in leadership and our latest inclusion & diversity (I&D) research, Women as the Heartbeat of Healthcare. Report co-author Terry Stone, Managing Partner in Oliver Wyman's Health & Life Sciences practice and global I&D Chair, chats with Jill Tietjen, President of the HERSTORY Alliance, about why diversity of thought drives innovation.

More From This Episode  

  • [Terry] "A diversity of perspectives allows for orthogonal thinking and breakthrough ideas. ... It's not just diversity by gender. It's diversity by a whole range of backgrounds, experiences, and the like."
  • [Jill] "Harvard was founded in 1636 to educate male ministers. There weren't schools until women started developing their own schools [like the Seven Sisters] and educating women themselves. So when you look at history, it's not really a surprise that it's a function of the people who were educated, who could write. And that was primarily a male culture."
  • [Terry] "In business today, a lot of very well-intended people are socially very progressive and believe they are completely not biased in any way. And they run big organizations or they're very senior in high up. And despite their best efforts -- including putting people in charge of inclusion and diversity, including claiming it's a top strategic priority -- we still struggle to make progress. We could try and change the context, but it's also interesting how unconscious bias (or what I would call implicit bias and hidden factors) gets in our way today. Even amongst people who believe they're acting with the right purpose."
  • [Jill] "[If I could wave a magic wand], I would want businesses, government, and the nonprofit world to reflect through their entire organization, and the population. So there was more gender equity and racial and ethnic equity. So people making the decisions are reflective of the population they represent and serve. That will require all of us to understand we have unconscious biases and to look very carefully at the assumptions we make as we hire, educate, and promote."