A recent report revealed a prestigious Japanese medical school has systematically lowered entrance exam scores of female applicants, preventing women from entering the school for years. Many women quitting medicine after getting married or having children were cited as reasons for altering the exam scores and excluding women. Countries, in which women are steadily becoming a majority of entering medical students such as the US, UK, and Canada, are no exception to encountering these criticisms. Some argue that the changing gender composition of the medical workforce has negative economic and workforce implications because: more female doctors are working part time compared to their male colleagues; more women plan to retire before the age of 65 than men, shortening their working life; women have longer consultations with patients and see fewer patients than male doctors. However, as Yoshiko Maeda, head of the Japan Medical Women’s Association, stated in the article, instead of worrying about women quitting jobs, “we need a working style reform… to create a workplace where everyone can perform to the best of their ability regardless of gender.” Not to mention the need for addressing vertical gender segregation in medicine. Women are not represented equally across the medical profession, and stronger efforts are necessary to find sustainable strategies to maximize both female and male doctor participation such as improved childcare provision and the use of flexible working arrangements for both women and men and address institutional barriers that create gender imbalance in leadership in the medical workforce.

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