Women In Medicine?

I read an article recently regarding the sayings surrounding women, their lives and careers and what would happen/how ridiculous it would sound if we applied them to men. For instance “Men in Medicine” or “Men, how to have a career and family”.  May favorite were the beauty remarks regarding wrinkles and weight.  It sounds absolutely ridiculous when you apply it to men–so why do the majority not see it as ridiculous when the latter are applied to women? It is kind of appalling when you think of it, at least it was to me.

To me these statements suggest a lot of things. First, that women are not a majority in advanced positions in medicine–which is false and also that as women we need to push for some type of movement to raise awareness that women can be health care providers, too.  Don’t get me started on the career and family balance.  In our country it is always always assumed that the woman is not the bread winner and if a man and a woman both have great careers the woman should be the one to make the sacrifice.  False.  Some personal stats for myself.  For my first job I worked with a group of 5 male and 5 female physicians–2 of the women whom brought home the sole salary.  All 3 of the mid level providers were also women.  So, why do people continue to be shocked that I’m a PA? Or that the female physician who is seeing them is actually the doctor.

How about some numbers?

Medical schools are supposedly comprised of a majority (>50%) women, so I have been told.  However, the best supporting statistics I found for that were from the AAMC from 2013-2014 stating 47% of medical students were female and 46% of medical residents were women.

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As for PA’s, the tale tells it that the profession was dominated by men.  Now, per a qualitative study conducted by the NCBI greater than 60% of practicing PA’s are female.  The statistics they utilized for this study was the AAPA Census Survey and over 16,000 PA’s were a part of the study.  I also read numbers that suggested up to 72% of today’s practicing PA’s are female, although I cannot quote a direct source.  The NCCPA Statistical Profile of 2014 revealed of the total 101,963 practicing PA’s, 67,901 were female, 66.6% total.  It does reveal the trend that when the profession first emerged it was in fact male dominant (if we are assuming older PA’s have been practicing longer which is not always the case).

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I realize some people may think that I am just perpetuating the cycle by talking about the subject; but, there is a part of me that thinks there hasn’t been much attention to this concept.  I guess my whole point–or even question is by making statements such as “women in medicine” are were fighting the stereotype or enabling it? Honestly, I’m not really sure. I do think that when you apply phrases directed towards women and replace it to represent men it sounds pretty off to say the least.  Until later, I guess it’s just something to think about and I would love to hear feedback!

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