Last month, I analyzed some of the top medical schools for aspiring anesthesiologists. There is a bright future for these doctors with a great education and formidable credentials. The problem remains, however, that not all of these schools can set women up for the same success as their male counterparts.
The Guardian recently published an article investigating why women are significantly less likely to receive full professorships in the medical profession. Doctor Anupam B Jena of Harvard Medical School Dr studied career information of 90,000 physicians through the career-centric social networking site Doximity, finding that out of 30,000 women in the group, female physicians were 16.7% less likely to have full professorships. Many claimed that it was because the female physicians were simply younger than the men in the study. But even when adjusted for age, the statistics prove that women struggle to keep up with men in the medical field.
Medicine has traditionally been a man’s business. From the early legacy of Hippocrates to the vaccination discovery of Edward Jenner, men have controlled the field.
When you visit your doctor, do you think about their gender? Maybe you prefer to see someone of your same sex because you feel more comfortable in their office. When you book an appointment with a female doctor, realize they have jumped across a generations-old gender gap in medical education to access the education that has enabled them to treat you.
The article focuses on the gulf between start-up packages offered by institutions to male and female physicians. While men received a median of 67% more laboratory start-up cash, at $980,000, women typically received just $585,000. We like to think that we live in a time of equality. These numbers show something far from it.
Researcher Jena said, “there is a sentiment that part of this problem has been adequately treated because there are efforts in place now to ensure that there are more equitable opportunities for women in academic settings.” We talk about gender equality and fair pay, but are we really changing the implementation of these goals?
“The obvious thing that people think about and talk about is we need to have better mentorship for women in academic medicine,” said Jena.
Better mentorship includes open-mindedness about women in the workplace. This means negotiating things like maternity leave and vacation days. In academic institutions, women are still paid less than men. This causes many brilliant minds to choose clinical careers instead of educating the next generation of doctors in the classroom.
Check back for Pt. 2, coming soon!