Healthcare providers include doctors, nurses, nutritionists, family caregivers, patient-provider partners, part-time workers, health volunteers, and community workers. Women as healthcare providers have several roles to play both at home and at work. At home, they have children, older adult family members, friends, and house chores to attend to; at work, they have stresses of managed care, downsizing, caring for patients, staff shortages and long and irregular hours. At the work place, gender biases influence how work is recognized, valued and supported (Campbell, Bruhm, & Lilley, 2000). This will in turn determine pay training, career trajectories, professional networks formed, personal safety, stress, self-esteem, family and other social relationships and autonomy. With these resources being inequitable, unproductivity results as individuals do not work to their true capacity. Women are expected to do the caring, informal, part time, unskilled and unpaid work while the men are expected to do the full time, formal, skilled and paid work. At work, women are either stereotyped to conform to male work models, ignoring their specific needs or are expected to naturally be caring and thus excuses men from work and absolves the management from addressing their under resourced roles in the health system. In the community, more often than not, workers (usually women) are expected to improve health outcomes even if there lacks a functioning health system.
Needs specific to women ranging from childcare to protection from violence usually are not addressed. These are seen as being caused by the women and not from the organization of health services. These problems are not solved collectively and this forces the women to adjust privately.
There are several ways in which the needs of the women healthcare providers can be met. First and foremost, the female health workers should negotiate gender biases in all quarters they belong to, both personally and professionally. Secondly, measures should be taken to recognize and value the care work that women take part in which is usually unsupported and either poorly paid or unpaid that is a great cost to their livelihoods and health (Letvak, 2002).
Care work requires constant attendance and is emotionally involving and thus requires integration of social services and healthcare sector to ensure that everything is provided and also that the women are not burdened. In addition, it will be wise to do away with the stereotype that only women can undertake in care work. In addition, governments should provide better remuneration and working conditions to its healthcare providers to prevent migration to other countries and thus leaving a crumbling system, which will increase the undermining of women as a greater percentage of them remain compared to the men (Phillips, 2000). The government should also ensure that the immigration and licensing systems are fair for both sexes as they use gender blind criteria.
The health sector must come up with interventions that prevent violent victimization of women in the work place. It should do this by doing away with gender blind management and poor working conditions. With all these done, it is hoped that there will be gender equality and consequently an improved health system.