Women in medicine have made progress since Elizabeth Blackwell: the first women to receive her medical degree in the United States in 1849. Yet although women currently represent just over one-half of medical school applicants and matriculates, they continue to face many challenges that hinder them from entering residency, achieving leadership positions that exhibit final decision-making and budgetary power, and, in academic medicine, being promoted. Challenges include gender bias in promotion, salary inequity, professional isolation, bullying, sexual harassment, and lack of recognition, all of which lead to higher rates of attrition and burnout in women physicians. These challenges are even greater for women from groups that have historically been marginalized and excluded, in all aspects of their career and especially in achieving leadership positions. It is important to note that, in several studies, it was indicated that women physicians are more likely to adhere to clinical guidelines, provide preventive care and psychosocial counseling, and spend more time with their patients than their male peers. Additionally, some studies reveal improved clinical outcomes with women physicians. Therefore, it is critical for health care systems to promote workforce diversity in medicine and support women physicians in their career development and success and their wellness from early to late career.
Citation: Madeline M. Joseph, Amy M. Ahasic, Jesse Clark, Kim Templeton; State of Women in Medicine: History, Challenges, and the Benefits of a Diverse Workforce. Pediatrics September 2021; 148 (Supplement 2): e2021051440C. 10.1542/peds.2021-051440C