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We Need More Women Physicians in the Workforce. Here’s Why.

Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA writes that despite the fact that women make up more than 50% of medical school students, only slightly more than 30% of the US physician workforce are women.

Women make up more than 50% of medical school students. Yet, only slightly more than 30% of the US physician workforce are women. That differs from other countries.

With looming physician shortages across the U.S., it makes sense to address extra career barriers common to women physicians. Equal pay, respectful treatment, greater visibility and meaningful support for family responsibilities could go a long way to help.

 

it makes sense to address extra career barriers common to women physicians. Equal pay, respectful treatment, greater visibility and meaningful support for family responsibilities could go a long way to help. Click To Tweet

 

In addition, the barriers to female physicians translates into disparate outcomes for female patients.

The issues are:

 

  • Equal pay. Here’s how to close the gender pay gap.
  • Abuse and assault
  • Childcare and family issues
  • The glass ceiling
  • Women have long faced historical and socio-demographic barriers to receiving and accessing care, with studies showing that women are less likely to have their symptoms taken serious or be given an accurate diagnosis. They are also under represented in clinical research trials.
  • Differing practice patterns between male and female physicians
  • Bias and discrimination
  • Family and maternity leave policies
  • Burn out , depression and suicide
  • Lack of gender diversity in many specialties
  • Women physician entrepreneurs have a harder time finding money
  • Women’s health innovation benefits from a female perspective. Most healthcare decisions are made by women.
  • Filling these gaps starts with changing the mindset and culture of medical education and training, the business model of medical practice and corporate human resources practices and benefits. Here’s the case from the old white guy perspective.

 

It’s not just the equitable thing to do. It’s good for business too.

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