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More females than males in medicine?

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I was just curious.

I was looking at some medical school stats and have noticed that over recent years although it is almost equal there’s been more females than males in medicine. 

This isn’t meant to be a sexist comment I’m all for it but I was just curious as to why that might be. Are they purposely trying to get more females in or are females just starting to become more interested in medicine than males?

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7 hours ago, 1D7 said:

There are more women than men in university (especially in premedical/health type degrees), so it's not abnormal to see more women than men in medical school.

Quite true - that is a big part of it. There is also persistent biases to several other fields (high technology fields for instance) towards men - there has to be a counter point to that somewhere, i.e. women have to be going somewhere. That isn't to imply cause and effect mind you - it is more complex than just men/women prefer different fields and/or squeezed out of others. 

A more useful statistic I think is what this the ultimate acceptance rate/number that apply into medicine of applicants by gender. If those are the same you don't have an institutional bias at acceptance/interview stages at least. 

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Interestingly, from listening to Dr. Walker's podcast at U of Calgary, he stated that they found women perform significantly better than men in the MMI format. I think he mentioned they published (or were going to publish) the data, I'll see if I can find it. Perhaps a more natural ability to express empathy?

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Just now, liuqiba said:

Interestingly, from listening to Dr. Walker's podcast at U of Calgary, he stated that they found women perform significantly better than men in the MMI format. I think he mentioned they published (or were going to publish) the data, I'll see if I can find it. Perhaps a more natural ability to express empathy?

Found it for those interested: https://journals.lww.com/academicmedicine/Fulltext/2017/06000/Are_Female_Applicants_Rated_Higher_Than_Males_on.46.aspx

an interesting discussion about true differences in performance or perhaps the self-fulfilling prophecy...

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2 hours ago, liuqiba said:

Found it for those interested: https://journals.lww.com/academicmedicine/Fulltext/2017/06000/Are_Female_Applicants_Rated_Higher_Than_Males_on.46.aspx

an interesting discussion about true differences in performance or perhaps the self-fulfilling prophecy...

Wow thank you so much! Will definitely be listening to it 

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In my experience reviewing some pre-meds applications, women had often been involved in volunteer work as a hobby since high school, whereas the men seemed to have started their volunteer work more recently (and often specifically for their applications). I found the women’s  applications better rounded overall, so it may just be the system currently favours women a little bit.

This is a generalization of the ~25 or so applications I’ve glanced over for people, so it may not be true for all of course.

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On 1/16/2019 at 10:34 PM, sympatheticsystem said:

I was just curious.

I was looking at some medical school stats and have noticed that over recent years although it is almost equal there’s been more females than males in medicine. 

This isn’t meant to be a sexist comment I’m all for it but I was just curious as to why that might be. Are they purposely trying to get more females in or are females just starting to become more interested in medicine than males?

Just my opinion but I genuinely think women make better physicians than men just because they are naturally higher in empathy which is important in the medical field.

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1 hour ago, Sickofitall said:

Just my opinion but I genuinely think women make better physicians than men just because they are naturally higher in empathy which is important in the medical field.

Lol this is kind of sexist towards men and imo a little disturbing that some physicians think that way. I completely understand empathy is important in medicine but I think it is much more important for a physician to be clinically competent and advance the medical field than being empathetic. No amount of fuzziness and empathy will cure bacterial infections and cancer patients. Plus we need people who are empathetic in medical school but we also need people who took challenging courses in undergrad and want to make new medical advances (whether this person is a man or woman is completely irrelevant)

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1 minute ago, peace2014 said:

Lol this is kind of sexist towards men and imo a little disturbing that some physicians think that way. I completely understand empathy is important in medicine but I think it is much more important for a physician to be clinically competent and advance the medical field than being empathetic. No amount of fuzziness and empathy will cure bacterial infections and cancer patients. Plus we need people who are empathetic in medical school but we also need people who took challenging courses in undergrad and want to make new medical advances (whether this person is a man or woman is completely irrelevant)

It is kinda sexist towards men in a way but I'm indifferent. And yes of course scientifically incompetent people should not become doctors.  But there are lots of women who do take challenging courses and want to make medical advances too, and are also more empathetic individuals. What I'm saying is that if I see more women getting into medical school than men, I am not going to lose sleep over it. If some guy is making a big song and dance about it, I don't really care either. We're not going to have male rights marches and rally's to protest the " oppressive and discriminatory" medical school admissions practices lmao.

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15 minutes ago, Sickofitall said:

It is kinda sexist towards men in a way but I'm indifferent. And yes of course scientifically incompetent people should not become doctors.  But there are lots of women who do take challenging courses and want to make medical advances too, and are also more empathetic individuals. What I'm saying is that if I see more women getting into medical school than men, I am not going to lose sleep over it. If some guy is making a big song and dance about it, I don't really care either. We're not going to have male rights marches and rally's to protest the " oppressive and discriminatory" medical school admissions practices lmao.

What are your thoughts on more men getting into engineering and tech?

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10 hours ago, Sickofitall said:

But there are lots of women who do take challenging courses and want to make medical advances too, and are also more empathetic individuals.

Thank you for this comment. :) There are also empathetic + strong men out there and in medicine too! However, I do realize that our society unfairly punishes men to not show their feelings.

At the end of the day, I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to even apply to medicine. Talking to my grandma, this would have been incredibly challenging for me to do as a female in her generation and maybe even my parents'. As it is still impossible in some other countries today, I count my blessings.

It still sucks having to navigate covert comments like "why don't you just become a nurse like most women do" and my boyfriend's coworkers saying things like "man, aren't you intimidated by the fact that she could make so much more money than you" but it doesn't compare to what some other people have to go through. In a sense, seeing these statistics makes me relieved because it shows that medicine is possible for girls today.
 

Perhaps being strong (in advancing the field, etc.) isn't necessarily better than empathy in all specializations of medicine as proposed above. Both skills are important but perhaps empathy is more needed in fields like pediatrics, psychiatry. So everyone has their own unique skill set that they can bring to their fields, whether male or female. Is the admissions process skewed by favouring strong empathy above all though? Maybe. But at the end of the day, they have so many people applying that they can be choosy and pick individuals who are both strongly empathetic and driven to advance medicine, regardless of gender identity.

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On 1/17/2019 at 10:11 AM, liuqiba said:

Interestingly, from listening to Dr. Walker's podcast at U of Calgary, he stated that they found women perform significantly better than men in the MMI format. I think he mentioned they published (or were going to publish) the data, I'll see if I can find it. Perhaps a more natural ability to express empathy?

There is a study showing that females doctors are better than male doctors..

but the study has had some critique:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucelee/2017/02/04/the-study-that-said-female-doctors-are-better-than-male-doctors/#327e0fa93f92

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8 hours ago, End Poverty said:

There is a study showing that females doctors are better than male doctors..

but the study has had some critique:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucelee/2017/02/04/the-study-that-said-female-doctors-are-better-than-male-doctors/#327e0fa93f92

I think that is the key question here: we have evidence that the admissions process slightly favours females, however if we are confident that the process selects for the best doctors, should we care?

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On 1/17/2019 at 12:11 PM, liuqiba said:

Interestingly, from listening to Dr. Walker's podcast at U of Calgary, he stated that they found women perform significantly better than men in the MMI format. I think he mentioned they published (or were going to publish) the data, I'll see if I can find it. Perhaps a more natural ability to express empathy?

I think the research has shown that females have tended to assess better on both MMI and the CASPer test as well. Hard to gauge the impact that this may be having across so many different institutions and programs etc. 

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On 1/28/2019 at 10:30 PM, Sickofitall said:

Just my opinion but I genuinely think women make better physicians than men just because they are naturally higher in empathy which is important in the medical field.

Hahahahaha. 

Wait till you get immersed in medicine for a decade. You'll realize a huge number of physicians lack empathy and professionalism. So many are self serving, narcissistic assholes with at best a limited understanding of social norms and appropriate behaviour. 

We are the worst of all the professions. Lawyers are better people. 

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9 hours ago, NLengr said:

Hahahahaha. 

Wait till you get immersed in medicine for a decade. You'll realize a huge number of physicians lack empathy and professionalism. So many are self serving, narcissistic assholes with at best a limited understanding of social norms and appropriate behaviour. 

We are the worst of all the professions. Lawyers are better people. 

Oh definitely, no doubts about that. It's unfortunate but that's reality.  Lawyers being better people though? Nah my dude you're pushing your luck lol.

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8 hours ago, Sickofitall said:

Oh definitely, no doubts about that. It's unfortunate but that's reality.  Lawyers being better people though? Nah my dude you're pushing your luck lol.

I know a ton of lawyers and I know a ton of doctors. In my experience, the doctors are worse, especially to each other. 

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6 hours ago, NLengr said:

I know a ton of lawyers and I know a ton of doctors. In my experience, the doctors are worse, especially to each other. 

I could say the same although then again most of the lawyers I know are corporate and criminal lawyers. Maybe it varies haha.

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15 minutes ago, Sickofitall said:

I could say the same although then again most of the lawyers I know are corporate and criminal lawyers. Maybe it varies haha.

Maybe - and NLengr is literally in a bad place right now. 

Medicine and probably law are a bit tribal - really depends on what type you are and where you are. 

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2 hours ago, Sickofitall said:

I could say the same although then again most of the lawyers I know are corporate and criminal lawyers. Maybe it varies haha.

The lawyers I know are a mix. No criminal though. 

Maybe I just know terrible doctors. Hahaha

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On 1/28/2019 at 10:10 PM, peace2014 said:

Lol this is kind of sexist towards men and imo a little disturbing that some physicians think that way. I completely understand empathy is important in medicine but I think it is much more important for a physician to be clinically competent and advance the medical field than being empathetic. No amount of fuzziness and empathy will cure bacterial infections and cancer patients. Plus we need people who are empathetic in medical school but we also need people who took challenging courses in undergrad and want to make new medical advances (whether this person is a man or woman is completely irrelevant)

I'm deeply confused by your latter statement. What leads you to the conclusion that individuals who are empathetic did not take challenging courses in undergrad and don't want to make new medical advances? What is the point in drawing a distinction between the two?

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On 1/28/2019 at 10:10 PM, peace2014 said:

Lol this is kind of sexist towards men and imo a little disturbing that some physicians think that way. I completely understand empathy is important in medicine but I think it is much more important for a physician to be clinically competent and advance the medical field than being empathetic. No amount of fuzziness and empathy will cure bacterial infections and cancer patients. Plus we need people who are empathetic in medical school but we also need people who took challenging courses in undergrad and want to make new medical advances (whether this person is a man or woman is completely irrelevant)

.

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The topic is an interesting one - at the risk of offending 'snowflakes' who may be perusing the forum, I will give my two cents.

First - I do not think women make better physicians or surgeons. That is, I do not believe there is some inherent advantage conferred by a double X chromosome that results in improved clinical outcomes. I believe that anyone is capable of being a great physician (or firefighter, or nurse, or teacher, or....) regardless of gender (or sexual orientation, religious belief, political leanings, etc). However, there is good data to suggest that women have better outcomes (large internal medicine study, recent BMJ article looking at female surgeons, etc). The question is why? If we focus on gender, we aren't going to get anywhere. We have to look past gender and focus on things that truly matter. For example, in the surgeon study, one of the hypothesis from the lead author is that perhaps women surgeons fair better due in part to surgery self selecting for the best female applicants (that is, due to the nature of surgery - aka: old boys club - women work harder to gain access to these specialties, as such, they are on average a more elite cohort then their male counterparts). Another reason could be communication - perhaps women spend more time with their patients, communicate better expectation and outcomes then their male colleagues and this translates into better care. I have one partner who calls all his patient 1 day after they have been discharged to 'check in' - his readmission rates are the lowest amongst our group and he  personal attributes this as one factor (he is able to reassure patients that certain things are normal, etc). The bottom line is - we need to figure out why we are seeing these findings so that we can generalize these practice patterns to improve on patient outcomes (whether it be better communication, more time spent with patients, more empathy, etc). 

As to why their are more females in medical school then men - who cares. Equality is not about outcome, it is about opportunity. Choosing an individual for a particular job (or program of study, or whatever) should be based on that individuals abilities, skills, potential, etc. and not on irrelevant aspects such as gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, marital status, etc. Pick the best person for the job, period. So if we believe that medical school selection is not biased to these irrelevant characteristics (which I do), then if 60% of the top applicants are female (or male), then so be it. Now, it's definitely worth studying why this is being observed (as mentioned already, women may perform better in MMI interviews - aka communication, problem solving, etc. - and there may be a larger cohort of women in university to begin with). Again, it is not gender, but some other characteristics that are driving these observed differences - focus on those and leave irrelevant factors out of it. 

My thoughts

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