47% of women physicians pass up on career opportunities — here's why

A recent survey of 1,056 female physicians found that career pressures influenced timing of childbearing and may contribute to ongoing gender disparities and attrition.

The study, published July 27 in JAMA Network Open, asked women about their career and childbearing choices. It found that despite knowledge of age-related fertility decline, roughly 75 percent of women physicians delayed childbearing, and 47.2 percent of women with children reported passing up on career advancement to accommodate parenthood.

In addition, to accommodate childbearing or parenthood, 28.8 percent reported taking extended leave, 24.8 percent chose a different specialty, 47.1 percent reduced their work hours, 24.8 percent changed their practice setting and 4.3 percent left medicine entirely.

"These findings suggest that fertility and family building concerns among women in medicine may contribute to ongoing gender disparities and attrition and represent a potentially critical area for policy reform and future change," the study authors wrote.

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