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[Special]Female doctors suffer from discrimination at hospitals just because they are 'women'Joint series by Korea Biomedical Review & Korea Medical Women’s Association
② 94 percent of women physicians called as ‘nurse or girl’
  • By Song Soo-youn
  • Published 2019.03.19 11:14
  • Updated 2019.03.19 11:14
  • comments 0

One of the male-dominated professions in Korea is medicine. However, the share of females increased from 17.6 percent in 2000 to 25.4 percent in 2017 (“Women’s life seen by 2018 statistics,” Statistics Korea). As women increase, calls for gender equality are also growing. The medical community has been free from the criticism for failing to keep pace with the social change. Against this backdrop, Korea Biomedical Review, jointly with Korea Medical Women’s Association (KMWA), surveyed doctors to understand gender equality in the medical community. This paper looked into what discriminations female doctors feel through a three-part series. – Ed.

Female doctors are experiencing discriminations throughout the medical community. A majority of women physicians said they suffered discrimination when landing jobs at hospitals, and, even after getting works, tend to be excluded from specialized duties.
Also, most of the female doctors were called as “girl” or “nurse” at least once.

According to a survey jointly conducted by Korea Biomedical Review and the Korea Medical Women’s Association (KMWA) to understand the gender equality in the medical community, 38.2 percent, or 449 respondents, said women suffer disadvantages in landing jobs at hospitals (10.0 percent said “very much,” and 28.2 percent said “yes”). The opinion poll was conducted from Nov. 14 to Dec. 31 last year, and 1,174 doctors participated in it.
Those who said women are not disadvantageous than men accounted for 39.9 percent, with 468 respondents. (22.7 percent said “not much,” and 17.2 percent said “not at all”). Among others, 19.0 percent (223 respondents) said “so-so,” and 2.9 percent (34) answered, “not applicable.”

There was a massive gap between men and women, however.

Among 425 male respondents, only 16.9 percent, or 72 men, answered women suffer disadvantages in getting jobs at hospitals, but a majority of women said so. Out of 749 female respondents, 377, or 50.3 percent replied women are disadvantageous than men in landing jobs at hospitals.

Hospitals prefer men for specialized duties and positions
Such a difference could also be seen in replies to questions related to specialized tasks and high-ranking administrative jobs (assigned posts) at hospitals.

Five-hundred-and-ninety-five respondents, or 50.7 percent of the total, said hospital prefer men to women for specialized duties. On the other hand, 368 respondents, or 31.3 percent answered no, and 174 (14.8 percent) said so-so (3.2 percent replied not applicable).

Female respondents who replied hospitals prefer men to women for specialized work was more than twice the number of men.

While 64.1 percent (480 respondents) of women said hospitals prefer men for specialized jobs, only 27.1 percent (115) said so.

Those who replied that hospitals prefer men to women for assigned posts took a larger share of respondents than the case of specialized duties.

Six-hundred-and-forty-eight respondents, or 55.2 percent, said hospitals prefer men to women for high-ranking administrative posts. Among the rest, 23.9 percent (281) said no, and 13.8 percent said so-so (7.1 percent replied not applicable).

The number of women who made positive replies also was more than double that of men.
While 70.4 percent of women (527) said hospitals prefer men to women for appointed positions, only 28.5 percent (121) men said so.

Women also dominated in replies that hospitals put a priority on men in the decision-making process in the ratio of 4 to 1.

Only 9.9 percent of men (42) answered hospitals let men take part in decision-making structure while 39.7 percent of women (297) said so.

48.5 percent of women complained about ‘disadvantage in promotion’

Female doctors also felt discrimination in promotion.

Out of the total respondents, 35.3 percent (415) said women are more disadvantageous than men in promotion at hospitals, almost equal to the 35.2 percent (413) percent who said no (20.2 percent said so-so, and 9.3 percent replied not applicable).

However, 48.5 percent of female respondents said women are at a disadvantage than men in promotion while only 12.2 percent (52) of men said so.

Female respondents who replied that women got lower performance assessment than men at hospitals also overwhelmed male respondents at a higher ratio than 4 to 1.

Out of total respondents, the ratio of people who replied that women get lower performance evaluation than men was 27.7 percent (3425), smaller than the 43.7 percent (513) who said that is not the case.

However, 38.9 percent (219) of female respondents said women suffer from discrimination in performance assessment while only 8.0 percent (34) of male respondents said so. More than seven out of 10 male participants, or 70.4 respondents, said there is no sexual discrimination in performance evaluation.

A small share of male and female respondents said there is discrimination in wages. Only 3.3 percent (14) of male respondents said women get lower salaries than men, while 11.3 percent (85) of female participants said so.

Many female doctors were called as “nurse” or “girl” because they were women.
As many as 93.6 percent (692) of female doctors they were called nurses or girls at least once, and only 5.1 percent (38) said they had no such experiences.


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