“I want to go to medical school.” “Oh, so you want to be a nurse?”
“I want to become a doctor and utilize technology and direct patient care in treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis.” “I am glad that you explained that, because looking at you I would have never guessed that would be where your interests were.”
“I plan to go to medical school next year” “Medical school is a huge commitment, you should look into nursing. And besides, you are going to be starting a family soon.” “Actually, I already have a family. I am married and have two children.” “Don’t you want to be there for your children while they are still young? And besides, doesn’t your husband have a good job?”
What are some societal stigma surrounding women in medical school? What are some social expectations of women, and how do they differ from expectations placed on men? Explore trends between female medical school applicants, matriculates, and graduates Work/Life balance Outline top medical specialties favored by women In this lecture we will begin to explore:
The Facts “Women have represented about 57 percent of enrollments at American colleges since 2000” “Department of Education statistics show that men, whatever their race or socioeconomic group, are less likely than women to get bachelor's degrees — and among those who do, fewer complete their degrees in four or five years. Men also get worse grades than women.” Sources: U.S. Department of education and the American Council on Education
Lawrence Henry Summers27th President of Harvard University 2001-2006 “…Reluctance or inability of women who have children to work 80-hour weeks.” "Fewer girls than boys have top scores on science and math tests in late high school years.” “women do not have the same ''innate ability" or ''natural ability" as men in some fields.” “(men and women have) different availability of aptitude at the high end.”
Focus Questions:Is Summers right? Are women lacking some innate ability? Do women perform worse than men academically? Do female doctors work less than male doctors?
Socialized Personality, Scholastic Aptitudes, Study Habits, and Academic Achievement: Exploring the Link. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, Vol 20(3), 2004. pp. 157-165 Women scored higher on: Warmth Reasoning Conformity Sensitivity Self-discipline Tension
Men scored higher on: Emotional Stability Dominance Impulsivity Boldness Withdrawal Self-sufficiency
Conclusions: “Study habits have also been associated with academic achievement, independently of scholastic aptitudes. Given a similar scholastic aptitude, students with better strategies and better study habits tend to show higher academic achievement.” “females obtained higher academic achievement scores than males. These differences could be explained by the fact that females showed a more socialized personality pattern and better study habits.” Source: European Journal of Psychological Assessment, Vol 20(3), 2004. pp. 157-165
Physician Practice Characteristics Source: American Medical Association Center for Health Policy Research, 2001 Patient Care Physician Survey.
Analysis: While female physicians work 8 hours less per week (on average) in comparison to male physicians, they still are working 9 hours more per week than the average American. Female and male physicians spend an equal amount of time seeing patients in their offices. Female physicians spend approximately the same amount of time with each patient as male physicians. Average time spent with patient is approximately ½ an hour (.56) for both male and female. Male physicians see on average 6 more patients per week, yet work 8 hours more per week. Since only 3 hours can be accounted for seeing patients, the other 5 hours extra male physicians spend working is completing paperwork.
Personal insight In response to Summers claim that women with children have the inability to work 80 hours a week: I would argue that Summers has lost sight of the fact that it takes a woman and a man to have a child. I would also argue that how society views the role of women is what gives rise to the notion that women are unwilling or unable to work long hours and that this does not in fact reflect reality.
It is important to note: Lawrence Summers voluntarily resigned as president of Harvard after a no-confidence vote from faculty members This was triggered in part by his statements regarding the “innate abilities of women.”
Analysis Although still under represented in the physician population, women have made huge advances since the 70’s and now comprise approximately 30% Much of the difference between men and women today is due to the gender gap of older generations of doctors, not due to current medical school acceptance or graduation rates
Women Medical School Applicants, Matriculates, and Graduates Source: Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), Women in Academic Medicine Statistics and Medical School Benchmarking 2004-2005. Available on the AAMC website.
Analysis The percentage of female applicants has increased from 29% to 50.4% since 1980 The % of matriculates is relatively reflective of the % of applicants even so far back as 1980 showing little biases toward accepting women into medical school The % of female matriculates who graduate has increased between 1980 and today Only 2.4 % of female matriculates did not graduate between 2004-2005
2005 Women Residents by Specialty Source: JAMA, September 10, 2008, Vol 300, No. 10, pages 1128-1237 Graduate Medical Education 2007-2008
Analysis Pediatrics, Obstetrics & Gynecology, and Dermatology are overwhelmingly female dominated specialties General Surgery, Anesthesiology, and Radiology are overwhelmingly male dominated specialties Internal medicine, Family medicine, Psychiatry, and Pathology have fairly equal distributions among male and female residents
Conclusion Society is more accepting of men who work long hours apart from their families There is an assumption that women perform worse academically than men which is in fact false, women tend to perform better academically This academic success can be attributed in part to the study habits and socialization of women The idea that medical school is a male dominated society is in fact false by today’s standards
Conclusion continued… There are still male dominated specialties within medical school There are just as many female dominated specialties in medical school Many specialties are fairly equally represented
Given all of these statistics, why are there still misperceptions about the capabilities of women in medical school? Society incorrectly portrays women as having less analytical abilities There is pressure from society to be a domestic woman rather than a career woman, many people do not believe you can be both In a culture that values the sexualized female identity it is difficult to establish any other views toward the status of women Women are still viewed as care-takers even in a society that has moved toward domestic equality within family units