Progress of Women in the Medical Field
Traditionally, women were believed to be suited to domestic work and social jobs. Over the past decades, this has changed, and women have been slowly accepted in other fields including the medical field. Women have not only joined this field but have also succeeded in excelling and joining the rest of the top performers in this field (Pfafflin and Anne P. 11). Women are no longer serving the community in the social responsibilities but also in the scientific world. They are now in parity with the men, who are joining and graduating from medical schools. This is a new trend as compared to the past when most of the medical schools had extremely few or no female students (Hamel, Julie, Elizabeth and Caren, P. 310). This paper will discuss the progress of the U.S. women in the medical field. It will compare the past and the current trends in medical practice by women. It will illustrate how women have reversed their roles in the society to serve the communities better and improve the quality of life.
The progress of women in medicine, United States
Medical profession used to be a male dominated profession until recently when it is started undergoing drastic changes to become a woman’s field. This has resulted to positive changes because the understaffing issues experienced are now solved; women are also more represented by people who understand them better. This has also been attributed to the fact that the field offers a wider variety of options that an individual can take. It is also convenient for women because the medical filed allows them to balance between career and their families. This flexibility nature of this profession has significantly contributed to the increased number of women doctors. This trend is predicted to remain in the foreseeable future because more women are developing interest in this field as compared to their male counterparts. Women made up to 57% of the number of applicants for medical schools in 2009. They also made up 40% of all doctors; this means they will increase in the future considering the increased numbers of new entrants in medical schools. There is an increasing trend, unlike the men’s figures, which keep fluctuating making it impossible to determine their trend. In 1991, the number of women in the medical field was 50%. This is the year when the two groups became proportional. Since this time, the number of women has gained a steady increase and it are expected that in future women will be the dominant gender in this filed (Elston P. 1).
According to a study done by the Gallup Organization, the number of women in the medical field has been increasing over the years. A study done in 1950 revealed that people preferred to recommend young men for a medical career than young women. In this study, only two per cent would recommend young women while the rest would not recommend. This was repeated in 1985 and the numbers of those recommending young men declined by 10% while the one for young women increased by 10%. In 1988, the situation reversed and the number of people that would recommend young women was more than that for young men. Today, a medicine career for young women is the leading recommendation, and this is more than all the other fields. This shows that the idea of women in the medical profession is not only an affair, but it has been accepted by the society. This suggests that the situation will be better in future, and they may end up dominating the field. They have been involved in research on reproductive health issues and complications associated with the female health. They have been motivated to excel in this profession by the results that are achieved when issues affecting women health are solved (Boulis and Jerry p. 1).
In the early twentieth century, women physicians were unheard of, this was a men’s field until the 21st century when the number increased to constitute 25% of the physicians who were practising. The reservations that people had regarded women physicians are no longer there and people have confidence in them. This change of attitude is predicted to result to even more women joining and practising medicine. Women are believed to have better skills in surgery as compared to men. The criticisms directed towards women have slowly subsided and this has encouraged more of them to join this profession performing at an equal level as their male counterparts. The acceptance by the society is the biggest contribution to this increase it is anticipated in the future that people may not discriminate them. The society will fully accept women, and this will result to them exceeding the number of men in this profession (Barzansky and Norman, P. 61-62).
The national sample survey of registered nurses has produced a report in 2006 indicating that 94.6% of all nurses were women. Women have outdone men in this field and have become the majority. With this trend, they are expected to become the majority in the top ranks of the medical field. They have chosen the occupations that benefit the community in America and the rest of the world. They are motivated to work and make the world a better place in terms of health and long life. This has been attributed to the increased challenges in women health; they are known to experience more health complications as compared to women. The concern for women to improve their status in the society has increased their numbers in the medical field. Women are known to experience more health complications as compared to men. This fact has also motivated young women to rise and be there for the rest of women who are leading hard lives due to poor health. They understand their colleagues better than the males. They are able to offer more than the medical attention that these females seek (Maizes, and Dog P.667).
In the early 20th century, women were discouraged from joining the medical field. It was argued that women in the medical field would not marry and have families like the rest of women in other careers. It was assumed that they could not balance work with child bearing and parenting. It was argued that there would be conflict in these two roles and their families would end up neglected. This notion has been proved wrong; today women in the medical field marry. It has been observed that more than half of women in the medical school bear their first children while still in the medical school. This is the best period for child bearing when their bodies are undergoing physiological changes best suited for child bearing. Initially, there was no option for a medical leave and pregnancy resulted to a lot of crisis and inconvenience to these women. The pregnant students had to work extra hours to compensate for the time that they would be out of school. The Harvard Medical School initiated the restructuring of the medical school training programs and factor in the female students. This is because they constituted a majority of the population in the medical schools. This has been a positive factor which has seen many female students join this profession because it favours them. They are able to progress in their careers while still growing their families and the two roles can be balanced easily. This fact has increased the number of young women joining the medical career, and this will result to increased female doctors and nurses in future (Barzansky and Norman, P. 63).
The society has changed its attitude towards women, who are bold enough to challenge the male dominated field. It has changed from the traditional view that women are better suited to domestic and social careers. They are now able to work at equal levels with men, and some are known to outsmart the males in this field. The training schools have embraced their needs and have made the learning conditions accommodating for them. This acceptance has resulted to the change of the medical field from a male dominated field to one which can accommodate both sexes with equal opportunities. The conditions in the medical field have also been adjusted so that women can fit. This coupled with the fact that they want to represent their fellow females who have health complications has resulted to their increase. It is predicted that, in the future, the situation may change and the female population may become the majority.