Dialogue Volume 15 Issue 1 2019 - Page 24

DEMOGRAPHICS The report found that overall membership increased by 35% from 27,269 in 2000 to 36,721 in 2018. The number of women has doubled over the past 19 years, while the number of men only increased by 9% over the same period. In fact, within some age groups, women have already surpassed their male colleagues in numbers. In both the 30-34 and 35-39 age-groups, women account for 55% of the membership. The report also drilled down into the change within specialties. In 2000, women represented 43% of all family physi- cians in Ontario. They now make up 54% of the family physicians within the membership. A similar trend ap- "This pears among pediatricians. transformation Surgical specialties remain largely male-dominated, though the number has been a and proportion of women has been long time in increasing steadily year over year. the making” Within anesthesiology, the propor- tion of women has risen 93% over time. Orthopedic, plastic, and surgi- cal other than obstetrics and gynecol- ogy, have more than doubled their numbers of women surgeons, yet the proportions of women remain low at 11%, 28%, and 20% respectively. Obstetrics and gynecology (OBGYN) is the one exception. The number of male OB- GYNs has decreased by 28% while women have increased their numbers by 129%. Because of the small numbers, the College researchers did not break out the diagnostic specialties into specific specialties. Within all diagnostic specialties, the number of women has increased by 93% while the number of men increased modestly by 18%. Women, however, still only represent about a third 24 DIALOGUE ISSUE 1, 2019 (35%) of all diagnostic specialists. “This transformation has been a long time in the making,” said Dr. Wendy Levinson, past chair of medicine at the University of Toronto. “I remember when I was in medi- cal training in the late 1970s, we were just beginning to see significant numbers of women in the classroom. But it has been male dominated for a big part of my career, and as I rose into leadership roles, I was often the only woman in the room.” In 2004, Dr. Levinson wrote an article titled “When Most Doctors are Women: What Lies Ahead?” in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The article predicted the impact that a stronger female presence within the medical profession would have on multiple levels of the system. Today, she believes that a number of the predictions put forward in that article have been realized, including the emphasis of a patient-centred care dynamic and the strengthening of team relationships in the delivery of care. The article also anticipated a greater realization, among physicians of both sexes, of the importance of achieving a work life balance. “When you see this kind of demo- graphic shift, there are consequences. And in terms of the work life balance, I believe that it is not just good for women, but good for everyone,” Dr. Levinson told Dialogue. “Once you have a profession where mater- nity leave is possible, you begin to see more men take paternity leave. This includes a recognition towards the need for greater flexibility so that if someone needs to step away from their practice, then they can get coverage. I think the presence of women in medicine has definitely forged important pathways,” she said. MD