Women are making progress in medicine, but there’s still a lot to do

According to the Association of Medical Colleges Annual Report on Medical School Admissions, in 2019, for the first time, the majority (50.5%) of American medical students were women. (Image courtesy of Adobe Stock)

The feeling that leadership roles within the health care system were not appropriate career goals for female physicians was only beginning to change with the publication of the monograph in 1995. Women’s Health Care and Management: A Mentoring Guide.

At that time, women made up about 19% of all American physicians, up from just under 8% in 1970. Lessons Learned: Women’s Stories in Healthcare Management, 30.4% of practitioners in the United States were women. After 10 years, women make up 36.3% of her practitioners in the country.

In a letter posted on the Women in Ophthalmology (WIO) website, WIO President Grace Sun, MD said the number of female medical students is approaching 50%, ophthalmology is on the rise, and the number of residents is increasing. You wrote that the proportion of women has increased from 29%. In 2000 it was almost 40%.

But the rise in leadership roles has been slow, with men chairing 111 eye programs nationwide in 2018, the Sun notes. This means that just over 10% of her programs (barely her double digits in absolute numbers) are headed by women.

Some subspecialties in ophthalmology continue to be dominated by men.

The increase in the number of female doctors is a direct result of the steady increase in the number of female medical students. According to the Association of Medical Colleges Annual Report on Medical School Admissions, in 2019, for the first time, the majority (50.5%) of American medical students were women.

At the same time, although medical school classes continue to include racially and ethnically diverse students, these groups are significantly underrepresented in the overall physician workforce when compared to the general population and the patients they serve. It is still being evaluated.

In terms of specializations, there have been significant changes. In 1970, she had only 7 specialties with more than 1,000 female physicians, but by 2006, 25 specialties had more than 1,000 female physicians, and by 2019 had 35 specialties.

While most female physicians continue to excel in primary care specialties such as primary care, internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, psychiatry, and anesthesiology, today’s young graduates are pursuing cardiothoracic surgery and neurosurgery. We have selected residencies in virtually all specialties, including:

Progress in female physicians, though continuous, has at times been slow, but it does not take long for women to dominate medicine, especially as the number of male applicants and enrolments is declining. maybe.

These trends are creating a silent gender revolution. This brings new opportunities and tensions. Within the broader context of the evolving role of women in American society, female physicians continue to explore new career paths—ones that include both clinical medicine and medical leadership.

The good news is that an increasing number of women have been in healthcare for over 30 years. The not-so-good news is that women are still underrepresented and underutilized in positions of power, especially at the highest levels. Unfortunately, six decades after her so-called “sexual revolution,” and despite rising proportions, there is a relative paucity of women in positions of power in all areas of the country. I’m here.

Moreover, the gender pay gap that still plagues American women is evident within the healthcare industry. Some studies have shown that female doctors earn from 8% to 29% less than their male counterparts. A report released by doctor network Doximity in 2020 analyzed the salaries of 44,000 doctors and found that the pay gap between male and female doctors was 28% this year, with male doctors earning 116,000 more per year than female doctors. Turns out I’m earning more than a dollar.

Disparities persist in various areas of healthcare.

  • Women make up at least 80% of today’s healthcare workforce, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and despite being the largest consumer of healthcare, women are underrepresented at the highest levels of hospital administration. It has been. Only 19% of key leadership roles in hospitals are held by women (physicians and non-physicians). This gender inequality problem is exacerbated by the fact that few doctors generally hold senior management positions in hospitals.
  • By 2020, the number of women graduating with a medical, biomedical or biology degree will at least match the number of men.But less than 10% of her biopharmaceutical CEOs are women, and even fewer female doctors

When it comes to leadership roles, in the 26 years since the first version of this book was published, women have made an incredible progress in terms of the level of formal education attained and their numbers within the workforce. We’ve made progress. However, relatively few have risen to the highest levels of politics, Fortune 500 companies, or healthcare organizations (public or private).

Aside from gender discrimination, the most common reasons given for women’s underperformance in leadership are their reluctance to become leaders, their lack of leadership interest and skills, and their self-esteem. I chose to dedicate time to my family rather than focus. Focus on professional advancement. Whereas past studies justifying male doctors as administrators proclaimed that men preferred to exercise power over women, today women are more likely to become decision makers as health care administrators. There is more consensus that if you get the chance to play the role, you will enjoy it.

Lessons Learned: Stories from Female Physician Leaders, With first-person accounts of 33 accomplished female physician leaders, we set out to document the career paths taken by some successful female physician leaders.

The women in this book have achieved success in many areas of healthcare management. They include corporate medical directors, managed care executives, managers within government, the pharmaceutical industry, academic leaders, hospital executives, and entrepreneurs.

Perhaps the issue is visibility, which is why we present these women’s stories.

Or I quoted Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children’s Defense Fund:

Deborah Shlian, MD, MBA is a Board Certified Family Practitioner and MBA with over 20 years of clinical and management experience. She is the author of Lessons Learned: Stories from Women Physician Leaders.This article was published in health economicssister publication of Ophthalmology Times.

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