Male and female physicians: family and career comparisons

Soc Sci Med. 1990;30(3):373-8. doi: 10.1016/0277-9536(90)90192-u.


This article compares career and family characteristics for male and female physicians aged 30-49 in the United States. Despite women's increased presence in the profession, male physicians still out-earn and work more hours than their female counterparts. Males are also more often involved in families than are females. Compared with the U.S. population, male physicians are more likely to marry and parent, while the opposite is true for female physicians. The work-family interface also provides dramatic gender differences. Marriage and parenting, which might be expected to impinge on physicians' careers, actually seem to spur men's work commitment and earnings, but have the reverse effect for women. A review of research findings from other industrialized countries reveals similar gender differences in physicians' work and family patterns. The consequence of women's increased presence in the medical profession are discussed in light of these marked gender contrast in work and family life.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Career Choice*
  • Data Collection
  • Employment / statistics & numerical data
  • Family / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marriage / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Parents / psychology
  • Physicians / statistics & numerical data*
  • Physicians, Women / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sex Factors
  • United States