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Why don't more women go into EM?

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  • Why don't more women go into EM?

    I find it interesting to see the gender effect on specialty choice. Bear in mind that medical school classes are now 47-49% female (up from 6% in 1965 and 36% in 1990.) https://www.aamc.org/download/411782/data/2014_table1.pdf

    But when you look at residents in various specialties, you see a much different picture:

    • Family Medicine: 44% male

    • Internal Medicine: 57% male

    • OB/GYN: 18% male

    • Orthopedic surgery: 86% male

    • Pediatrics: 27% male

    • Psychiatry: 46% male


    Women are far more likely to go into OB, FM, Peds, and Psych, right?

    Then I think about the merits of EM- fewer hours than most specialties, high hourly rates of pay, relative ease in cutting back for short or long periods of time, no call, predictable schedule (well, at least once the schedule is made), shift work etc and I think to myself, "Self, if I was a woman with significant child raising needs/desires and career flexibility etc, EM would be way up there on my list. Then I look at the statistics:

    • EM: 63% male


    What the heck? Why aren't more women interested in EM? (Or the alternative hypothesis- Why isn't EM more interested in women?)
    Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011

  • #2
    That is odd, I also would have expected higher for the reasons you stated.

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    • #3
      While established several decades ago, EM is still relatively new compared to other specialties. I think the benefits of a career in EM are becoming more apparent, and people are becoming more comfortable discussing these benefits openly (i.e. discussing lifestyle/compensation in medicine has previously been taboo). I suspect that the competitiveness of matching in EM will continue to climb, and the number of women interested in EM will climb over the next decade or so. IMO, we are already seeing this in medical schools, just hasn't quite hit residencies yet.

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      • #4
        Because they don't like how they look in cargo pants?

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        • #5
          Agree.  Although the evening, weekends and holidays away from home are difficult, the fact that one can be paid very well for part time work goes a long way.  We have a few females in our group with young children - they work part time and have struck a nice work-life-income balance.

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          • #6
            Only 37% are women in my specialty, anesthesiology, according to this article, which quotes EM as having a similar percentage of women at 38%.

            It's tough to guess why without invoking stereotypes, so I'll leave it alone. 37% is not an insignificant amount, and I've worked with some amazing women in both private practice and academics.

            Perhaps a female physician would like to weigh in on this one?

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            • #7
              Perhaps a clue from my scribe:  too much confrontation.

              Our  ER scribe is starting medical school after 18 months with us in the ER.  He concludes he will not be going into EM;  he's uncomfortable with all the confrontation.

              I'm a woman ER doc.  I kinda enjoy the verbal jousting. The physical stuff still creeps me out.

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              • #8
                Their idea of a good time doesn't involve mountain climbing and shredding the slopes?

                 

                I actually think stereotypes go a long way in deciding what specialities medical students choose. People like to fit in. Whether or not that's a good idea is another question.

                 

                From my experience as a medical student, about 75% of doctors fit in with their specialty stereotypes.

                EPs like the great outdoors.

                Orthos all played a sport in college.

                Anesthesiologists like to complain about Obamacare and midlevels online.

                And according to one of our lectures, over 50% of psych residents abuse benzos.

                There are outliers of course.

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                • #9
                  @Allonblack,   a comment re: your comment above

                  your thinking is full of useful generalizations.   Generalizations are an essential cognitive skill. Good luck to those who can not generalize.   Do not allow the PC-Nazis to shame you into apologies for thinking well.  i.e.  "whether or not it's good...........blah , blah....." "blah, blah, .....outliers"

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                  • #10
                    Lifestyle wise it is def good in terms of it being shiftwork but it seems like you have to do a lot of overnights when you start out (based on my female and male friends in EM). I still vote for dermatology . I'm in academics and barely do any cosmetics, with very flexible hours and good mix of exposures - clinic, procedures

                     

                     

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                    • #11
                      Surveys show dermatologists are the happiest specialists, no disagreement there. Tough match though. EM...probably an average match. Maybe slightly harder than average.
                      Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011

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                      • #12




                        From my experience as a medical student, about 75% of doctors fit in with their specialty stereotypes.

                        EPs like the great outdoors.

                        Orthos all played a sport in college.

                        Anesthesiologists like to complain about Obamacare and midlevels online.

                        And according to one of our lectures, over 50% of psych residents abuse benzos.

                        There are outliers of course.
                        Click to expand...


                        I thought it was "anesthesiologists sit around all day at work doing nothing and complain about surgeons"?  

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                        • #13
                          I thought most psychiatrists were weird, not substance abusers-those are the anesthesiologists! ;-) I can't speak for all women, just myself, but I don't like procedures so I was never going to go into anything besides psychiatry. While I think EM might be a nice fit for a woman who wants to have a family, it's really only good if you are working part time. If you don't have a regular schedule, it's hard to get childcare, and having to work nights really sucks as a mom (at least I thought so) because I would sacrifice daytime sleep to spend more time with my son. I think women with kids (or who plan to have kids) tend to gravitate towards specialties with predictable daytime hours. I can't help but plug outpatient psychiatry-part time, no call, no nights, no weekends, no holidays, good pay . . . pretty much perfect, if you ask me.

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                          • #14




                             I can’t help but plug outpatient psychiatry-part time, no call, no nights, no weekends, no holidays, good pay . . . pretty much perfect, if you ask me.
                            Click to expand...


                            Apparently lots of women agree with you.
                            Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011

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                            • #15
                              The stats on female physicians have really changed during my career.  I finished med school in 83 and 20% of the class was female.  I did Ob/Gyn and that was unusual at the time also.  I think EM sounds interesting and certainly has a good controllable schedule.  If I was in med school now I would consider it. I think the pay has increased over the last years.  You have to realize that just because something is lucrative today it may not be tomorrow.  As to why more females don't do it I can't say.

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