Women in Family Medicine
Balancing the demands of a career in family medicine with a personal life can be challenging for anyone, but there are particular challenges for female family physicians. According to the Medscape Family Physician Compensation Report 2017, female family physicians are paid 15 percent less than their male peers on average. Approximately 39 percent of physicians who are mothers report experiencing disrespectful treatment from staff. This figure increases to 53 percent among female physicians who report discrimination based on pregnancy, maternity leave, or breastfeeding. Gender discrimination may also result in limited opportunities to contribute and advance; lack of support in the workplace (such as not allowing mothers to take time to pump and store breast milk); and a perception of diminished value and recognition compared to male counterparts.
In the face of this reality, family physician Kim Yu, MD, FAAFP, launched the Facebook group Physician Moms in Family Medicine. The group’s mission, Yu says, “is to inspire women physicians, create change, and lead family medicine,” or #inspirecreatelead for short. Since 2016, this virtual community has grown to include more than 2,500 matched medical students, residents, and practicing female family physicians throughout the world.