Student Summer Scholars


women in medicine, gender bias, women’s health


Gender and Sexuality




Objective: This study aims to provide a rich analysis of particular women’s medical education experiences.

Design: One-on-one interviews and self-administered questionnaires Participants: 25 practicing women physicians who had graduated from U.S. medical schools.

Results: The author identified the following themes: 1) societal gender role assumptions significantly impact women physicians’ experiences as medical students, in practice, and as primary care givers. 2) Marginalities in women’s health education exist in all levels of medical training. Curriculum specific to reproductive and psychiatric women’s health impacts physicians’ preparedness for treating female patients. 3) Physicians reported the existence of medical hierarchy during training and in practice. Central to this issue is the prevalence of sexual harassment which eight physicians reported having experienced or witnessed during their medical training. 4) Finally, twenty one of the physicians identified mentorship programs in medical school and residency programs. However, random assignment of mentors and students detracted from the meaningfulness of such programs.

Conclusions: Gender inequality remains entrenched in all levels of medical education and practice. Findings highlight the necessity for additional institutional programs that provide support for women in medicine and curriculum reform to address the fragmentation of women’s health.