Towards gender balance: but will women physicians have an impact on medicine?

Soc Sci Med. 2001 Jan;52(2):179-87. doi: 10.1016/s0277-9536(00)00218-5.


The increasing numbers of women in medicine in western societies has raised the issue about their impact on medical practice. As a way of addressing the issue, this paper explores women's position in medicine in the Nordic countries, where the medical profession will soon be gender-balanced. Support for both a ghettoization and a vanguard argument for women physicians can be documented. The final section offers three sociological perspectives--the socialization theory, the neo-Weberian, and the social constructionist--as theoretical explanations for the gender segregation of medicine and as diagnostic paradigms and potential heuristic devices to aid women's empowerment as medical providers.

MeSH terms

  • Empathy
  • Employment / trends
  • Female
  • Feminism
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Health Workforce
  • Humans
  • Physician's Role*
  • Physicians, Women* / psychology
  • Physicians, Women* / supply & distribution
  • Prejudice
  • Professional Practice / trends
  • Scandinavian and Nordic Countries
  • Sociology, Medical / trends*
  • Specialization