The decision to pursue further education (college or university) is a personal one, and it is not always the best fit for any given individual. Education is something that appeals to everyone on a different level, and for some, the appeal stops even during their formative years in primary school. Every individual is different in this regard, but those who do opt to further their education by attending college, tafe, or university ultimately tend to end up having a specific goal in mind: to get into a specific field, and even into a specific job. Healthcare is undeniably one of the most important fields that one can build their career in, but it is also one of the most difficult to get into. And that is just part of the larger problem at hand – the gender gap in those studying to become a part of the field.
Women accounted for 49% of all medical school applicants in 2007-2008. This figure continues to rise. As there is more representation of women in medicine and other health fields like radiography, nanosciences, cosmetic skincare and dermatology and more highly demanding medical routes. This is a relatively new phenomenon. According to British Medical Bulletin 'feminization' of the medical workforce continues to increase, with women in England now forming over half the general practitioner (GP) workforce and forming the majority of medical students.
Studying medicine or other health sciences is an incredibly respectable choice, but there is an undeniable gap in the individuals studying the sciences necessary to work in the sector. The gender gap in students taking on health science and medicine at colleges and universities around the world is finally closing, as more women take on the important work there is always to be done in the field, by enrolling in courses under the umbrella of the industry. Historically speaking, the study of medicine has attracted fewer women than men because of the long hours involved in the professions that fall under the field's umbrella, as well as the intense studying schedule involved in getting into the field as a professional in the first place.
As little as thirty years ago, just over a third of medical students were female. Since the 1960s, the field has attracted more women and in the last fifteen ,the percentage of female students taking on medicine has hit close to 50%. As of last year, the total percentage of women studying the field has hit 54%, finally more than evening the playing field and doing its part to close the gender gap in medicine. The initial (and gradual, to be frank) cultural shift, coupled with the gradual acceptance of mothers as working, career women have played a significant role in more women choosing medicine as their higher education standpoint.
While this seems like a victory – and it is – it is also important to note that there is still work to do. Even as busy professionals, women are still largely expected to be the key members of the family unit that keep the home running on top of maintaining and excelling at their careers. The balance is far from level, but we are finally getting there.
Image by Unsplash