Pandemic could disadvantage female physicians for years, researchers say

The COVID-19 pandemic is highlighting gender disparities in medicine and magnifying the burden on female physicians, according to Medscape.

Julie Silver, MD, an expert in gender equity in medicine, said existing challenges — like unequal pay or promotion opportunities — have collided with numerous pandemic-related challenges for women, including heightened stress and anxiety, and difficulty balancing work and personal responsibilities.  

"There are many indications that women are leaving medicine in disproportionately high numbers," Dr. Silver, an associate professor, associate chair, and director of cancer rehabilitation in the physical medicine and rehabilitation department at Boston-based Harvard Medical School, told Medscape.

In addition, unconscious gender biases may mean women will be shortchanged in pandemic-related decisions about pay cuts and prioritization of operating schedules, Dr. Silver and her colleagues said in a July 31 blog post published in The BMJ.

"The ground that women lose now will likely have a profound effect for many years to come, perhaps putting them at a disadvantage for the rest of their careers," they wrote.

To read Medscape's full article, click here.


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