Posted by: alexishelmer6248 | January 31, 2019

Women in Healthcare and Grey’s Anatomy

Throughout the last four weeks, we have focused heavily on the ‘double bind’’ that women are being put in. We have focused on many different fields that women are in and analyzed where the inequalities lie for them. In many fields, it is either male dominant or female dominant; there is hardly ever a middle ground where the two are balanced. For the health care industry, this is no different.

In the article by Lisa S. Rosenstein titled ‘Fixing the Gender Imbalance in Health Care Leadership,’ she briefly explains some of the major issues that are present within the field and why they might be occurring. Through statistical evidence, she explains that many women are graduating from medical school and going into the medical field. However, these women are also never really making it into a higher position, with less than 20 percent of women holding any of the top executive positions in the field.  The article then presents four topics that are helpful in fixing the issues of this gender gap in the health care field. She mentions quantification, rethinking awards and promotions, engaging broadly, and creating opportunities for development and sponsorship. The one that stood out as the most important to me was the creation of opportunities for development and sponsorship, especially as it highlighted the IBM Technical Women Pipeline Project. I also appreciated the fact that a woman in the field addressed the problem and also presented potential solutions – something that all good leaders display. I think each of these are good reminders that have been mentioned in class. Were there any specific fixes that stood out to you?

Switching topics a little bit, I want to bring in the article about Grey’s Anatomy and female empowerment. I myself have never been one to sit down and binge-watch the show. However, I have watched many interviews with the cast and have learned about the barriers they are breaking within the field. We have mentioned the impact of Shonda Rimes and how much of an influence she has had not only in the media but in other areas of life. The main thing I liked about the article was its focus on the female leader in the show, Bailey, and how she finally made it to the position she wanted after twelve years. I appreciated this because Shonda Rimes writes these characters and their parts but does not just make it easy for them. She shows the struggles they face. She shows the pushback. She shows everything that women feel when they are put in these positions.

Moving forward and thinking about these two articles, there were a few questions that came to mind. Are there other fields that are being highlighted in the media through TV or movies in a way that displays breaking barriers and the glass ceiling? Furthermore, are there any fields that you think could benefit by being highlighted in a show like Grey’s Anatomy with a spin on female empowerment?


  1. I really liked your post in how you had two different ideas, but they could still relate back to each other because of the discussion of the the health industry. I agree with your statement about different fields being either male or female dominated, never in between. I think that is one the problems we face today is that when women try to enter a male dominated field, such as healthcare, they face barriers and double binds, like you said. After reading the first article, I was stuck on the fix that talked about engaging broadly. I like the idea of men and women working together to “enhance gender diversity in leadership”. I have never heard of implicit bias training, but the fact that it has shown a decrease in negative held beliefs about women’s capabilities in STEM must mean that is it working. If the program that Dell is working and showing a positive effect on representing women in male dominated divisions, then more companies should consider implementing programs similar.

    In your next topic dealing with Grey’s Anatomy, I have to start by saying I am probably one of few people that has never seen the show. I love shows very similar to it, but I have never gotten myself to start watching it. The impact that Shonda Rhimes has had in the media industry has been substantial and after watching short clips of Bailey’s character, I can see how she has pushed to break through barriers and the glass ceiling. I really enjoyed watching her acceptance speech and hearing her give credit to those who have come before her because they are the ones that left footprints for her to follow, making it through to the other side. To answer your question about other fields breaking barriers, a recent article was posted about Nafessa Williams playing TV’s first black lesbian superhero. Her goal is to show young black lesbian women that it is OK to be themselves and give them a voice that is heard every week on TV.

  2. I really enjoyed reading your post and the two articles you talked about. The area that stuck out to me in the Rotenstein article was the rethinking awards and promotions. I think this is a major factor contributing to the inequality among men and women in leadership positions. If a woman working in a company continually works very hard and helps the company substantially but doesn’t ever receive any recognition or award for her hard work, it is unlikely this woman will have the motivation and desire to continue working hard and helping out her company. While recognition and praise should not necessarily be the focus of someone’s job, it is important that individuals feel appreciated and valued. Like Sydney, I have never seen Grey’s Anatomy, but I have loved watching a few clips of Bailey. I am currently watching the show Parenthood, and one of the main characters is a woman lawyer. I don’t know the statistics about the percentage of men and women lawyers, but I do know that in the show it seems like most of her coworkers are males. The show portrays her as a powerful, hardworking and competent lawyer who is highly valued by the company. I think it’s awesome that they include this aspect of the show because it highlights the significant and crucial role women play in high-powered companies and fields.

  3. I really enjoyed these two ideas coming together. I have also been thinking about women in healthcare, because that will soon be me. I am a little worried that people won’t take me seriously, because of my gender. I can’t really tell that at CNU in my major, like men degrading women, but I have a feeling that it will be coming and that is stressful. I have always been a huge fan of Grey’s Anatomy, but never thought about it in the way of how Shonda Rhimes ties in so many themes until we watched that clip in class. Since then, every time I watch Greys I am more and more impressed. She really does such a great job of incorporating every stereotype. What I think is even cooler is, I was watching on facebook that these kids and young adults were saying thank you to Grey’s anatomy because it gave them confidence to come out and say that they were gay or say that they were a lesbian. It is so powerful that a tv show can do that for people. Even though Miranda Bailey is an actress, she gives so many people, like myself, hope that women can be such powerful influences in the work world.

  4. I really enjoyed your post and how you tied these ideas together. I also want to pursue a career in healthcare and never really gave much thought to how my gender would play a role in my career until I shadowed a physician’s assistant this summer. She worked in an orthopedic office and it was very stereotypical in that all the nurses, and even the other PAs, were female and the doctors were all male. This was only true of one doctor’s office, however, it was still interesting to see the interactions between the PA I was shadowing and the doctors because although they respected her, you could still tell they knew they were above her and it showed. I have always been a fan of Grey’s Anatomy and love all the characters that Shonda Rimes creates. I think it is amazing that she is able to incorporate so many different stereotypes of women and portray them as strong and successful in their career.

  5. I really enjoyed how you connected these two ideas in your post! Although I myself am not planning to pursue a career in the healthcare industry, my mother is currently going back to school in order to become a diagnostic neurologist. Over the course of her time shadowing people in the field, attending school, and spending time with other men and women pursuing this type of job, I think that she has definitely encountered issues of gender in the workplace and in academic settings as well. However, I think that, although the article says that women are not typically in these higher positions within the healthcare industry, I think it depends on what type of career within that field that they want to pursue/are pursuing. My sorority big is in the UVA Nursing Program and is training to become a PA, and she has told me countless times that the hospital is, shockingly, made up of a majority of female doctors, nurses, specialists, etc. I think that, no matter the gender, it is possible to find a successful career and rise up within an industry!

  6. I appreciate the various outlooks in this post. I have always noticed how the STEM majors are predominately male, and until now, wondered if it was due to lack of representation or merely differences in preferences. You had mentioned that many women do indeed graduate from medical school, but do not obtain high leadership positions. There seems to be a recurring theme that was brought up in the first article for this week’s reading – that women are equally capable, so why are the proportions of male/ female leadership skewed? I believe the creation of more opportunities may benefit women, but may also just be filled my men. This may be due to women wanting to focus more on their job / a specific route and could be because women are just not as interested in positions. However, I do think that opportunities are presented more to men than women and further research on this topic would be interesting as to why this is, or if women truly do not seek high-profile positions.

    However, as I am about to head off to veterinary school, a male friend of mine mentioned that he had a really good internship and job opportunity. I was a little jealous because the same clinic did not even return my calls or look at my resume. He said his boss commented that he got the job because he was male and could “lift heavy things”. The veterinary profession is also overwhelmingly female and this comes as a surprise to many people as they tend to view all doctors as “male”. One day when I have earned my doctorate of veterinary medicine I hope to earn a reputation within the community I work that will change this ignorant perception of what gender a “doctor” is.

  7. Like other people have said, I really enjoyed reading this post and hearing the thoughts you had about women in the healthcare field in light of the article and things from Grey’s Anatomy and Shonda Rhimes herself. I think it is so important that we have shows like Grey’s that portrays powerful women in leadership positions, because as we read, the media has such a strong influence on our culture today. As we keep talking about in class, I think the normalization and empowerment of the idea of women in leadership roles will have a big impact on the amount of opportunity that women will be able to find going forward. I really like how you pointed out that Rhimes made sure to include Bailey’s struggle in her journey to becoming chief of surgery. I think it’s really important for people to see that pushback and see how she had to work for years and overcome various obstacles, stereotypes, and setbacks in order to get where she wanted to be. She also did a fantastic job of making Bailey a balanced character as well as a powerful one. She is introduced as a strict, uncaring “Nazi”, but soon we see that she genuinely cares about her pupils and colleagues and just has a passion for what she does and what she wants to accomplish/ who she wants to become. She is married and has a child, but also succeeds in her career to become the chief of surgery, a title she dreamed and worked hard for years to achieve. She is powerful and self-assured, but we also see her struggle with OCD. She is such a dynamic and intricately woven character, which I think adds an important dimension to an evaluation of her as a leader. She is a good example of facing the double-bind and navigating it well, since we see both sides of the spectrum in her leadership.

  8. I really like that you bring the field of healthcare into the discussion as we have a couple times in class. My goal in life is to be a doctor and I am glad that shows like Grey’s are breaking down barriers for women. Healthcare is a field more than most, in my opinion, that needs effective leaders. It is shown in Grey’s that women doctors can be just as effective as male doctors and I think that is very important. A disease or injury does not care if you are male or female and the doctor should not matter either. Whomever can treat the injury the most effectively should be the doctor doing in. I think that is shown very well in Grey’s. A show that I would like to mention is the show Suits. The law firm that the show revolves around is run by a very strong female and I think that law is another place, like healthcare, that shows like Suits can be helpful in showcasing the leadership talents of women.

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