For the last two years, women have outpaced men in medical school attendance. This shows that more avenues are opening up for women to forge paths in areas of medicine previously denied to them. The new trend is also leading to an increase in women medical students across the country.
This increase in gender diversity in medical education is good news. However, Americans still have quite a way to go in closing the gender gap faced by women in medicine.
How can we close the male-dominated gender gap in the field of surgery? In what ways can we create more gender diversity for women who want to be surgeons?
Women Only Represent 10% of Chairs of Surgery in the United States
Statistically, 2017 was a great year for women in surgery. The US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health (NCBI) reports that 22 women became new Chairs of Surgery in their respective hospitals.
Chair of Surgery is the highest point of leadership in the hospitals for their specialties. Women surgeons also took leadership roles in important organizations like the American Board of Surgery and the American College of Surgeons.
These are all reasons to celebrate. But even with these advancements, women still represent only 10% of the Surgery Chairs.
Not only is there a gap in gender representation, but there are also gaps in salaries and overall compensation. While other medical specialties are no strangers to gender gaps, surgical specialties show the largest in the medical field.
Searching for Women Medical Students Who Want to be Surgeons. Pre-Medicine by SLU Madrid Campus is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0
Women in Medical Education Leadership Positions Growing at Slower Rate
Diversity in medical education is not happening. Changemakers struggle to make impacts in spite of the rising rate of women in medical schools.
The rate of women professors is growing much slower than the rate of women medical students and residents:
- Less than 10% of the full professors in surgery are women
- About 16% of all deans of medical schools are women
While the latter may seem marginally better, these deanships are not usually in clinical or research roles. Instead, they tend to focus more on medical education. There needs to be more diversity in medical school to prevent this rate from slowing down.
The number of surgical residents that are women is very much disproportionate to their male residents. NCBI estimates that:
- It will take until the year 2028 for the number of female surgical residents to equal out to those of men
- It will take until the year 2096 for the number of female professors in surgery to be equal to male professors
Solving Gender Diversity Problems for Women in Medicine
These are some pretty stark gender diversity issues that won’t get solved anytime soon unless we all do something about it. This means lifting up aspiring ladies. We must create a system for women to both thrive in surgical positions and boost diversity in medical schools.
Busting Myths About Women Medical Students
There are myths that may discourage women from entering the surgical field. These myths include complaints such as:
- Long hours make becoming a woman surgeon impossible
- Lack of support for women in surgery keeps them out of the industry
- General difficulty and sacrifice of having children and a family makes it too hard to become a surgeon
These are myths that should no longer live in the minds and hearts of potential doctors. Organizations like the Women in Surgery Interest Group (WISIG) bring women in medicine together, especially female surgeons.
The group aims to show it’s possible to overcome any obstacle on your journey toward becoming a surgeon in the US.
Bridging the Gap: Women in Surgery Careers
Being a surgeon is such a rewarding career path. You save and change lives every day. So, you see the results of your hard work right in front of you.
Having such tangible outcomes is immensely satisfying for anyone. If women in medical school are bombarded with nothing but drawbacks, they’ll have no incentive to reach these rewards.
Even worse, gender diversity in medical education will shrink. That means the gender gap will continue to grow.
Women Surgeons Shaping Future Leaders in Medicine
Having women in leadership positions as surgeons means ladies working under them have advocates in fields mostly run by men. They help doctors and future doctors establish work-life balance and enforce rules about discrimination and harassment.
It is now the job of women and their allies to encourage our girls, the women of the future, to consider medical careers in surgery. We must forge a path toward diversity in medical schools.
Let’s work together to create diverse paths that any and all women medical students with the motivation and desire to save lives can follow.
Getting into Medical School: Passing the MCAT
Thinking about becoming a surgeon or practicing some other form of medicine in the US? Then, you’ll need to attend medical school. And to do that, you must pass the MCAT exam.
The Medical College Admission Test® (MCAT®) is an intense exam that helps medical schools determine eligibility for attendance. One of the best ways to get a good score on the US medical exam is by taking a comprehensive MCAT test prep course.
MedSmarter’s MCAT prep course helps you develop the critical-thinking and problem-solving skills you need. We’ll instruct you on the basic science concepts and principles needed to pass the MCAT.
Call the MedSmarter Atlanta, GA campus at 800.979.5850. Or click the link below for more details. America needs more women medical students and female surgeons as a whole.