In the first episode of Grey’s Anatomy, Alex Karev calls Meredith a “nurse” as an insult, knowing full well she is an intern of the same stature as he. It’s meant to show his playboy nature and to reflect his growth as a character as the show develops — but it’s a misogynistic comment that is probably all-too-common for female doctors.
The JAMA Internal Medicine Journal surveyed 5,782 female doctors with children, and found that they face rampant discrimination at work.
Nearly 80 percent reported facing some form of discrimination in their career. 2/3 had experienced gender discrimination, 35.8 percent maternal discrimination.
They reported disrespectful treatment by staff, unequal pay, and exclusion for administrative decision-making as the most common forms of discrimination; 31.5 percent who reported maternity discrimination said they were making less money and/or benefits than their male counterparts.
Glamour notes that another study in JAMA found that patients of women doctors were less likely to die from the condition they saw the doctors about, suggesting that female doctors are every bit as competent (perhaps, more competent) than male doctors.
The field of medicine isn’t as gendered as it used to be: 46% of all physicians in training and almost half of all medical students are women, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) found.
Still, despite this increase in female doctors, women physicians are paid less, less likely to be promoted, and spend 8.5 more hours per week on household activities, JAMA finds.
Employers in the medical field should recognize the discrimination at play, and take active steps to counter it, in the form of longer paid maternity leave, child car, lactation support, and schedule flexibility (all asks by female doctors.)
“Pick me. Choose me. Love me.” -Female doctors to equality in the workplace