Male vs Female Doctors Both Play Critical Roles in Providing Services

Trishita Deb
Trishita Deb

Updated · Nov 1, 2023

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According to Male vs Female Doctors Statistics, Male and female doctors play critical roles in providing different healthcare services in medicine. The distribution of male and female doctors across different specializations and geographic locations can vary significantly.

Important factors such as personal preferences, cultural norms, work-life balance considerations, etc., may influence the choices made by male and female doctors regarding their work environment as well as location.

Editor’s Choice

  • In 2022, the number of female first-year medical students in the United States marginally increased to 12,630. Women comprised 55.6 % of all first-year medical students in the United States.
  • Females (77%) rated the importance of both spouses’ careers in a relationship higher than males (56%).
  • The percentage of women in the 47 top specialties ranged from 12.9% in sports medicine (orthopedic surgery) programs to 83.8% in obstetrics and gynecology residency programs.
  • The World Health Organization i.e., WHO, estimates that women comprise approximately 70% of the health workforce globally. However, this figure includes many healthcare professions beyond just doctors.
  • A study published in the Medical Journal of Australia in 2019 found that female doctors earned, on average, 24.1% less than male doctors.

Medical School Enrolment Male vs Female Doctors

  • Over the years, there has been a significant increase in the enrollment of women in medical schools all over the world. In 2022, 31,190 women applied to medical schools in the U.S. Women accounted for 56.5 % of all applicants.
  • In 2022, around 43% of students who applied to medical school were accepted. In 2022, 13,286 women were accepted to medical school. As a result, the acceptance percentage for female applicants was 42.6 %, compared to 44 % for their male counterparts.
  • In 2022, the number of female first-year medical students in the United States marginally increased to 12,630. Women made up 55.6 % of all first-year medical students in the United States.
  • For the first time, women made up the majority of incoming classes at US medical schools in 2017. In 2022, there were 51,890 female medical students in the United States. They accounted for 53.8 % of all medical students. Women made up most of all medical school enrollments in 2019 for the first time.
Male vs Female Doctors

Specialty Choices

  • In cardiology, 82% of doctors are men. 73% of doctors in gastroenterology and hepatology are men, while 63% are in respiratory medicine. Overall, 58% of consultants and upper specialty trainees (years 3 to 8) are men, while some large specialties have a more equitable gender ratio. Women make up 51% of geriatric medicine practitioners, for example.  In all, 5859 substantive consultants (37% of these roles) and 3677 higher specialty trainees (51% of these roles) responded.
  • Men outnumbered women in all but a few of the lesser specializations, which each had fewer than 160 responders. Metabolic medicine (85% of doctors are men); clinical pharmacology and therapeutics (77%); general internal medicine (74%); sport and exercise medicine (71%); pharmaceutical medicine (56%); medical ophthalmology (63%); nuclear medicine (68%); immunology (56%); audiovestibular medicine (45%); and allergy (43%).
Male vs Female Doctors

Gender Equity: Male vs Female Doctors

  • Over the past few decades, there has been a significant increase in awareness regarding the promotion of gender equity across the globe. This trend is crucial in promoting a more balanced gender distribution in medical specialties.
  • Females (77%) rated the importance of both spouses’ careers in a relationship higher than males (56%).
  • Similarly, more ladies (68%) than males (51%) agreed that career and family are equally important.

Workforce Distribution: Male vs Female Doctors

The representation of male vs female doctors in the workforce varies according to country as well as region. In many countries, the medical profession has traditionally been male-dominated, but there has been a noticeable increase in female doctors in recent years.

  • The World Health Organization i.e., WHO, estimates that women comprise approximately 70% of the health workforce globally. However, this figure includes a wide range of healthcare professions beyond just doctors.
  • In the United States, the gender distribution among doctors has been shifting. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) data from 2020, women constituted approximately 38% of active physicians in the country.

Geographic Distribution

  • Over the last 20 years, the share of women doctors has risen in most OECD countries, and women doctors are, on average younger than male doctors. Almost half of all doctors in OECD nations were female in 2019.
  • This ranged from less than a quarter in Korea and Japan to over three-quarters in Latvia and Estonia. Women doctors expanded fast in Denmark, Netherlands, and Norway, Spain, where in 2019, women accounted for more than 50% of all doctors.

Compensation and Earnings: Male vs Female Doctors

Salary Differences

  • Studies have shown a gender salary gap among physicians in the United States. As per a 2019 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, there was an overall unadjusted gender pay gap of approximately 27% among physicians.
  • A report published by the British Medical Association (BMA) in 2020 found that female doctors earned less than their male counterparts in general practice and hospital medicine. The report highlighted that the gender pay gap tended to widen as doctors progressed through their careers.  

Hours Worked

  • The working hours of male vs female doctors varied depending on various factors such as nation, specialty, personal preferences, and family responsibilities.  According to research, male doctors in the United States work more hours than their female counterparts.
  • Studies in the United Kingdom have similarly revealed variations in working hours between male and female doctors. According to a Medical Women’s Federation survey from 2018, female doctors in the UK were more likely to work part-time or with reduced working hours for various reasons, including family commitments and work-life balance considerations. As a result, men doctors worked more hours on average.

Maternity Leave

  • Maternity leave statistics for female doctors can vary across countries and healthcare systems.
  • From January 2014 to March 2020, approximately 17.1% of nurses and midwives, as well as 17.7% of female doctors and dentists under the age of 50 working in the NHS hospital and community sector, experienced at least one period of maternity leave.
  • Over 90% of doctors/dentists/nurses/midwives continue their direct employment with the NHS in their respective sectors even two years after taking maternity leave. Women are less inclined to leave the NHS within 2 years following their maternity leave than their colleagues.

Patient Preferences and Outcomes

  • Patients’ preferences for doctors of a specific gender can impact the gender distribution of the clinical population in medical settings.
  • A survey conducted at 4 clinics involving 185 adult patients revealed that 45% of the respondents expressed a preference for the gender of their physician. Among the participants, 12% of men and 43% of women preferred a female physician, while 9% of women and 31% of men preferred a male physician.
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Trishita Deb

Trishita Deb

Trishita has more than 7 years of experience in market research and consulting industry. She has worked in various domains including healthcare, consumer goods, and materials. Her expertise lies majorly in healthcare and has worked on more than 400 healthcare reports throughout her career.