Increasing numbers of women are entering medicine in Canada. In 1959 women accounted for 6% of the medical school graduates, but by 1989 they accounted for 44%. Although there has been little systematic investigation of the impact of this increase on Canada's health care system, there are grounds for believing that female physicians bring with them distinctive values and interests, which may be reflected in the way they conduct their professional practices. We used data from a recent national survey of 2398 Canadian physicians to examine differences between women and men in their practices and their attitudes toward health care issues. Significant differences were found in the organization and management of the practices. Women preferred group over solo practice and were overrepresented in community health centres, health service organizations and centres locaux de services communautaires in Quebec. One-third of the women, as compared with half of the men, were in specialties. Even after adjusting for differences in workloads the incomes of the women were significantly lower than those of the men. Only minor differences were observed in the assessment of the health care system and alternative modes of organizing health care services. We believe that the differences were due to the double workload of women as professionals and family caregivers and the powerful socialization effects of medical education. As women overcome their minority status in the medical profession, differences between the sexes may become more apparent. Thus, the extent and effects of the progressive increase in the number of women in Canadian medicine should be assessed on an ongoing basis.
Williams, A Paul; Domnick-Pierre, Karen; Vayada, Eugene; Stevenson, H Michael; and Burke, Mike, "Women in medicine: practice patterns and attitudes" (1990). Politics and Public Administration Publications and Research. Paper 7.