05 August 2004

View on the Feminisation of Medicine

"We are feminising medicine. It has been a profession dominated by white males. What are we going to have to do to ensure it retains its influence?"

"I don't know why it is but a profession that loses its male dominance tends to lose some of its power."

"Do we have to train women in the ways of men to give them the capacity to be as influential? The interesting thing is that women do very well in medical school. They go through the early part of their training very well, but for a whole lot of reasons they are not staying on to become the leaders of the profession. If you look at the trends, we do not have any female professors of medicine and no deans of medical schools are women."

"In Russia, medicine is an almost entirely female profession. They are paid less and they are almost ignored by government. They have lost influence as a body that had competency, skills and a professional ethic. They have become just another part of the workforce. It is a case of downgrading professionalism."

"Where are the cardiologists, the emergency doctors going to come from? Women are voting with their feet and choosing lifestyle first. I don't blame them. But what are we going to do if we cannot fill every branch of the profession? Why are more men not going into medicine?"
[ BBC NEWS | Health | Women docs 'weakening' medicine]
Not too many women will be happy with my post today. If we are to believe the statements above, having too women in medicine could be bad.

Make no mistake about it, though. The statements came from a woman herself --- Dr Carol Black --- who is the president of the Royal College of Physicians, has expressed her sentiments that the British medical profession could lose status and prestige if more women do not take on positions of responsibility.

Filipinos have a word for what is happening in the British medical profession --- "bitin"

More females are becoming British doctors but when they begin having children, few of them continue working full-time. This leaves the senior positions of medicine vacant. Hence, they leave few or no one to fill deanships and professorships in medical schools. This leaves their field of medicine hanging out in the cold. A spokesperson for the British Medical Association (BMA) agree with the statements of Dr. Black that there is indeed an "under-representation of women at the most senior levels of medicine," and most of them believe this should be changed.

I am also glad that this phenomenon is not happening in the Philippines. I believe there is an equal gender representation in the Philippine medical field. Filipino women doctors here, in spite of having families, are able to balance family and professional life, and they go on to assume important senior positions like becoming professors, deans, and presidents of medical societies.

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