With all the issues involving the discouragement of women, it seems like an impossible gap to fix. However, a few ideas come to mind that would help decrease this gap. First, decreasing the wage gap would encourage more women to enter the field. Second, requiring a ratio of women to men on hospital boards would allow for diversity as well as the ability for women to be promoted and put in leadership positions. And lastly, by introducing women into different fields of medicine early on in medical school, we can encourage them to go into various fields rather than just pediatrics and OB/GYN.
Decreasing the wage gap is the first step in this process. To do this, however, we need to come up with funding to raise the female doctors pay. This can be tricky because many people already believe doctors are paid too much so putting even more money into their salaries could cause some issues. We could take the difference out of the male counterpart and add it to the females so that their pay is identical. However, this could be troublesome for the male doctors who would be losing twenty percent or more of their income. Emily Peck writes that in order to fix the pay gap in all industries, not just medicine, we would need two trillion dollars. This is a huge amount of money to pull out of thin air, which is exactly why evening out the gap between male and female equals is the smartest way to eliminate a pay gap.
Just as universities are often obligated to enroll a certain number of students from that state, we could create laws to equalize the playing field in medicine. By saying half of a hospitals board members must be female, we increase the opportunity for women to be promoted, as well as allowing for diversity in thought. It has been proven that having women in a leadership position allows for more representation for all groups, a competitive advantage, diversity of discussion, and a wider array of skills. Simply by expanding the inner circle, we can create, solve, and work to better our medical field.
Dr. Julia Fielding, a radiolosist, was able to successfully get more women to join radiology after exposing them to the field during their first year of medical. If we could employ some of her tactics such as exposing women to occupations other than pediatrics or OB/GYN earlier in their careers, we may be able to defer the common belief that women should be in pediatrics and OB/GYN which would increase the number of women in other fields. If we are able to put more women in other specialties, we will again experience greater diversity in thought and a smaller wage and opportunity gap.
One of the hardest things to fix it our own opinions, however. We cannot implement laws that say you cannot be sexist, we cannot change the views of millions of people, and we cannot monitor the treatment of women in the workplace. It seems like an impossible change. But, if we start now, in just a few years we can create a better work environment for women in medicine. By beginning the three step process I have just described, we will slowly, but surely, change the attitudes of doctors, both male and female, everywhere.
If we don’t work to fix this major issue, less women will enter the medical field. From this, we will regress back in time to where women were told they could not be doctors, that they could not go to school, and that they would always be less than men. We will also weaken our economy as money by doctors is a huge source of our economy since they are able to invest more, and if we decrease the number of women in the medical field and the number of men does not increase dramatically, a large portion of our economy could be lost. Finally, if we don’t allow women to pursue their dreams in medicine, we aren’t creating role models for our daughters to look up to. In order to be inspired, we have to have people that inspire us, and if we don’t have these people, we lose the opportunity.