Women in Medicine

  • Tracey A. LaPierreEmail author
  • Shirley A. Hill
  • Emily V. M. Jones
Part of the International Handbooks of Quality-of-Life book series (IHQL)


This chapter focuses on the status of women in medicine, primarily in terms of becoming physicians in the United States. Considerable advances have been made in the number of women who become physicians, and gender parity has almost been achieved in medical school admissions and graduates. However, women in medicine continue to experience high rates of sexual harassment and gender discrimination, contributing to their unequal representation across medical specialties and in upper-level and leadership positions across specialties. A pay gap exists between male and female physicians, even when taking into account different areas of specialization, leadership positions, experience, productivity, and other factors that affect compensation. We explore efforts that have been made to address gender inequities among physicians and argue that fundamental changes in how the work of physicians is conceived of, organized and valued, are necessary in order to successfully tackle the male-dominated culture of medicine. We conclude with a discussion of the global feminization of medicine and its impact on the health care system and the health of populations, especially women.


Gender bias Medicine Physician Healthcare Leadership 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tracey A. LaPierre
    • 1
    Email author
  • Shirley A. Hill
    • 1
  • Emily V. M. Jones
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA

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