An issue that I care about immensely is women’s rights in the workplace. In particular, women’s job opportunities in medical fields. As a woman who is interested in pursuing a career in medicine, I feel anxiety about these issues continuing. Some issues facing women in medical fields are salary discrepancies, opportunity loss, and societies standards.
In a study done by the American College of Cardiology, we found that only 10 percent of all practicing cardiologists are female, and face an $110,000 salary difference from their male counterparts. This gap alone makes women feel inferior then men in the same profession, with the same amount of schooling, and drives them away from pursuing a career in cardiology. The author, Pamela Douglas, says that “Most medical professions show a wage gap, there’s nothing unique to cardiology or brand new here,” which would be an example as to why women are not making up more numbers in any specialty, not just cardiology. Lets face it, would you want to work just as hard as someone, for just as long, be in the same amount of debt, but get paid a fraction as much?
Another issue with women pursuing medical proffessions is the opportunity just isn’t there. Many departments are run by a board of mostly men, perhaps a few women. While interviewing women to fill the positions they are to fill they often speak in a condescending matter and look to the women candidates as inferior. In an article on Forbes.com the author says, “If women make a mistake, they are seen as incompetent, if men make a mistake it is seen as bad luck.” This analogy implies the social pressure women may feel when suggesting answers to unsolved problems because they are afraid of being wrong. A lot of women are intimidated by this and choose not to enter fields where their everyday life consists of having to overcompensate for their ‘lack of competence’.
The last issue I will discuss is the pressure society puts on women to still form a family and work at home. Nearly 50 years after women rights movement we are still fighting to break gender stereotypes. When I tell people that I want to be a cardiologist, the first reply is usually, “wow, thats a lot of school.” and the second is, “how are you going to start a family while getting your degree and practicing?” I don’t think a lot of people would ask this same question to a man who was pursuing a degree in medicine. Our society still focus’ on the standards used many generations ago to determine who should ad who shouldn’t pursue a job.
Overall, the number of women in medicine is overdue to rise after years of mistreatment of women in medical fields, the wage gap discrepancy, and societal standards. While a near equal amount of men and women apply to medical school each year, only a small number of women fill each specialty. This lack of women actually practicing medicine is due to pressure making it difficult to not only get and hold a job in a specialty, but feel comfortable in doing so.