Gender Profile in Medical Education: Current State and Issues

Gender Profile in Medical Education: Current State and Issues

When we think of Medicine, we picture a demanding field that is a reserve for the select few. Gender inequality is an issue that many aim to combat. And in the area of healthcare, it becomes more blurry.

In certain occupations, people may prefer one gender over the other, and especially so in men and women in medicine stats. Both genders face unfair expectations and stereotypes. It happens even though since 1980, the number of women venturing into medicine, has more than doubled.

Addressing The Gender Gap

A 2016 survey by Amino shows a shift in the gender gap in medicine, by specialty. There are fewer female doctors than male doctors. It also shows that women exceed the number of men, in particular specialties.

Mainly, in the practice of Gynecology and Pediatrics. In these fields, women are over 50% compared to their male counterparts. Discrimination and stereotyping could be the main reasons for this.

In a few specialties, there are a handful of women, in it. That includes urologists and orthopedic surgeons. The percentages of women in these fields are less than 10%. It gives you something to chew on as you draft your family medicine personal statements.

Women dominate these fields because they are deemed as “female specialties.” Many people still hold on to the opinion that women should handle obstetrics and children. It shows that gender roles in our society today is still going strong, which is insulting.

  • Stereotyping

Certain occupations prefer one gender over the other. Women, in particular, have faced trouble and discrimination in entering the world of a physician. For men who want to pursue the field of nursing, have to brave against the bias from patients and colleagues alike.

Though the number of male nurses and female doctors is on the rise, the two career paths still exhibit gender discrepancies. Whatever gender you are, you may have at one point in time, ignored an opportunity because you believed it was suitable for the opposite gender.

Just like every other field, there are concerns about the difference in pay for men and women. With the later, getting lower pay. In clinical settings, women face setbacks in the leadership roles they play and success in their careers.

You may not notice this, since, it is common to see many female doctors. Today, about half of the medical students are female. But in 1970, female physicians were at a staggering 7.6%.

  • Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome affects women more than men. And thus, women who are in positions of leadership often have to face it. It is a feeling of inadequacy, in that, you feel that you don’t have the necessary skills for a particular job.

It is evident that genders still plays a significant role in the success of a doctor. Men take a considerable portion of the leadership roles in the field of medicine. It is a whopping 80-90%. As women move on in their careers, there’s a definite separation in the positions.

Data from the (AAMC) Association of American Medical Colleges shows that out of five full professors, only a single one is a woman. That is by 2016. When it comes to medical school deans, women only occupy 16% of these positions.


The causes that propel gender discrimination in medicine are both known and unknown. Often, it falls on the roles that the society enforces to each gender. While it is well known that going into medicine is challenging and demanding, the community still forces women to thinks more about children and raising a family.

In this age, women may be more comfortable to pursue a career in medicine, but the gender roles ingrained in us, by the society, sometimes acts as an obstacle. Gender discrimination isn’t just towards women. Men who pursue the field of nursing also face discrimination from their peers and patients.

Many people question the ability of a man to be a nurse. And some men in nursing feel they are at a disadvantage when it comes to this field, including, the specialty of obstetrics/ gynecology. They may be overlooked regarding taking leadership positions or promotions.

We still have a long way to go to achieve gender parity in medicine. But it shouldn’t keep you from drafting your internal medicine residency personal statement.

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