How the power players do it - by Fortune senior editor at large Patricia Sellers

Where the girls aren't: finance...and are? Healthcare

January 17, 2012: 2:39 PM ET

Lisa Suennen is one of the few big-deal venture capitalists in health care. Not that this distinction makes her happy or proud.

Suennen, whose Psilos Group has $577 million under management, would rather see more of her kind in her industry, as she wrote today in a Guest Post on my colleague Dan Primack's Term Sheet. Attending JPMorgan's Healthcare Conference last week in San Francisco, Suennen noticed that only about 10% of the attendees were women. Meanwhile, the lineup of healthcare execs presenting at the confab was not so distressingly, dominantly male.

What gives? Suennen's observation is more evidence that finance is an increasingly dangerous and ever less desirable place for women. While one of JPMorgan Chase's (JPM) own, asset management chief Mary Erdoes, is the highest-ranking woman in banking, at No. 24 on Fortune's Most Powerful Women list, the truth is that more women have lost big jobs in banking (and fallen off our list) than in any other industry. Bank of America's (BAC) Sallie Krawcheck and Barbara Desoer are just two of the high-profile casualties.

Healthcare, meanwhile, is a relative land of opportunity. And Fortune's MPW list illustrates this. The 2011 rankings include WellPoint chief (WLP Angela Braly, at N0. 5 in the rankings, and Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ) Sheri McCoy at No. 10. McCoy is a candidate to be J&J's next CEO. Also moving up our latest rankings: GlaxoSmithKline's (GSK) Deirdre Connelly and UnitedHealth Group's (UNH) Gail Boudreaux.

Good news that women in healthcare are gaining ground. But if more women in finance could help them do their deals and build their businesses, I bet the pipeline of up-and-coming talent would be fuller than it is.

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