Australian medical students’ and junior doctors' perceptions of gender discrepancies in obstetrics and gynaecology

Monyi Win Kyaw, Hon C. Cheng, Helena Obermair, Cindy Woods, Christopher Perry, Caroline De Costa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: There is currently a gender imbalance 85:15 female/male in the intake into specialist training for the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG). Aims: To determine the views and perceptions of Australian medical students, and junior doctors in the first five years of practice, toward obstetrics and gynaecology (O&G) as a career, including whether there are any perceived barriers to the pursuit of such a career. Materials and Methods: A semi-structured questionnaire was developed with members of the RANZCOG Gender Equity and Diversity Working Group There were two separate studies: the first involved telephone interviews of medical students across three campuses of a medical school in North Queensland. The second study surveyed junior doctors in Queensland who are members of the Australian Medical Association. Responses were analysed and compared using quantitative and qualitative methods. Results: Both studies found that experiences with O&G as a medical student influenced the decision to pursue O&G as a career. Exclusion from clinical scenarios and difficulty establishing good relationship with midwives within busy birthing suites were some reasons deterring male students from O&G. In addition, students felt poorly informed about the specialty in their preclinical years, affecting their early decisions in choice of specialty. Post-rotation, more female than male students reported positive experiences and were considering O&G as a career. Conclusions: Both groups see medical student experience as critical in attitudes toward the specialty as a possible career. This experience plays a significant role in encouraging female students toward a career in O&G and discouraging male students. More exposure to the specialty in the preclinical years, and attention to improving clinical rotations for all students, is required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Nov 2022
Externally publishedYes

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