Guest Commentator: Delphine P. O’Rourke, Attorney, Hall, Render, Killian, Heath & Lyman, P.C.

How can Greater Philadelphia’s health care industry benefit from gender diversity in leadership?

Every industry benefits from having more women leaders. The smart health care companies have realized that gender diversity is both the right thing and the money thing.

The health care industry, particularly in the area of health care delivery, is in the process of a major transformation to a consumer-driven market with women overwhelming driving behavior and purchasing decisions. Knowing that women are calling the shots and armed with more and more information in making their families’ decisions about care, the health care companies that are purposefully increasing gender diversity are securing their moral and economic edge.

Many health care companies are promoting women leaders because it is the right thing to do and consistent with their moral tradition. At its core, health care is about alleviating the suffering of others. Professionals who devote their lives to caring for the sick at the bedside or to developing a drug which will save children battling cancer are motivated by a desire to heal and to benefit the common good. That health care is a business and that pharma is an even bigger business, doesn’t trump the important work of the health care industry and its long legacy of moral and ethical modeling.

Saving lives comes with great responsibilities. Health care professionals take great pride in being part of a profession with high ethical and moral standards which does the right thing. And it is right to stop discriminating against women.

But for those late adopters for whom doing the right thing isn’t enough, gender diversity is also the money thing. Companies with more women on their boards and in leadership positions perform better financially