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Academic medicine should lead the way on gender equity: but it doesn’t
  1. Peter W Mathieson
  1. Correspondence to Professor Peter W Mathieson, President’s Office, University of Hong Kong, 10/F Knowles Building, Pok Fu Lam Road, Mid-Levels, Hong Kong, China; president{at}hku.hk

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Postgraduate Medical Journal (PMJ) includes an interesting article by an eclectic group of authors from the USA, Singapore and the Middle East.1 They studied aspects of gender equity in accredited clinician-educator programmes in Singapore, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. In short, their conclusions show that the situation regarding gender equity, or the lack of it, is no better in those locations than it is in North America, Europe or Australasia on which much of the previous comparable literature has focused. The study defined clinician educators as ‘physicians whose primary responsibilities are patient care and education, and whose research represents only minor portion (sic) of academic contributions’ and included a high proportion of people whose professional education was from Europe or the USA, that is, introducing international mobility as a feature of the population under study. The most concerning findings were that women were less likely to have an academic position and less likely to have institutional leadership status (despite there being no gender difference in time worked at present institution or years in current position); women were less likely to be promoted and more likely to be dissatisfied with work–life balance; outcomes in women but not in men were affected by marital status and having children. This report adds to numerous previous studies showing that careers in academic medicine are not forged on a level playing field: women are disadvantaged and men predominate at senior academic levels and in leadership roles. This is despite the predominance of women entering, and graduating from, medical school in most regions and the roughly equal numbers of women and men at early career stages. So what is going wrong with academic career progression for women and what can be …

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