Objective: To compare the scope of practice and degree of personal and professional satisfaction of rural women family physicians with their rural male, urban female, and urban male counterparts.
Design: Cross-sectional mailed survey.
Setting: Rural and urban Ontario family practices.
Participants: A total of 442 rural and urban family physicians.
Main outcome measures: Personal and professional characteristics, scope of practice, and degree of personal and professional satisfaction.
Results: Rural women family physicians' scope of practice is as broad as that of rural men, and the women are more likely to attend births. They work many more hours on average than their urban counterparts. Rural women incorporate more professional activities into their practices than both male and female urban family physicians do, but they are less satisfied, both personally and professionally.
Conclusion: Rural family practice provides a broad scope of practice for both women and men, but initiatives are needed to make rural practice more professionally and personally satisfying for both women and men.