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Challenges of work-life balance for women physicians/mothers working in leadership positions

, : Challenges of work-life balance for women physicians/mothers working in leadership positions. Gender Medicine 9(4): 244-250

Female leadership in medicine is still disproportionately small, which might be due to the barriers of combining work and family. The aim of this study was, first, to perform a strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis and, second, to create a strategic concept for career development. In this study, all women in leadership positions in the health care system in Vienna, Austria, with at least 1 child (n = 8), were interviewed about the advantages and disadvantages of gender with regard to career development, the strengths and weaknesses of female leadership, and their work life balance. Different factors that influenced the work life balance were specified, and career strategies to realize adequate solutions were developed. The sporadic focus on career advancement, time-consuming child care, responsibility for family life, and a woman's tendency toward understatement were barriers to career development. Work family enrichment has a positive spillover effect that spreads positive energy and helps to balance the work life relationship. For each individual, the allocation and interaction of different resources such as time, money, scope of decision making, and physical, emotional, and social resources, were essential to maintain the individual work life balance. In addition to the existing glass ceiling, the predominant responsibility for child care is still borne by the woman. However, mentoring programs, coaching, networking, and support of the partner or of other people help to strengthen female soft skills and achieve a work life balance.


PMID: 22626768

DOI: 10.1016/j.genm.2012.04.002

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