Indian Women in Medicine

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A recent WHO report revealed that almost 31 percent of those who claimed to be allopathic doctors in 2001 were only secondary school graduates. 57 percent of the doctors did not have any medical qualification whatsoever. The report also suggested that 67 percent of the female allopathic doctors actually had a degree, as compared to the 38 percent of male doctors. 38 percent of the female doctors were reportedly more qualified and educated than their male counterparts.

Also Read: Women Still a Minority in the Science World

Another report done by Mumbai Mirror suggests that 51% of students cornering 23,522 seats in 2014-15 were females as compared to 22,934 men in India.

In neighbouring Pakistan and Bangladesh, the proportion of females in medical colleges is 70% and 60%

 In Pakistan, though, 70% of medical doctors are females, out of which 23% are registered doctors.

Medicine seems like a male-dominated industry, according to these numbers.

Interestingly, there is a long and proud history of women in medicine. The first ever female doctor was Anandibai Joshi who graduated in 1886.

Anandibai Joshi

Anandibai Joshi, first female doctor of India. PC: The Better India

Even though there are women medical students who outnumber the males, they all do not take up medicine as their career. Tanishka Tiwari, PMT Student studying  in Kota, Rajasthan tells SheThePeople.TV:

“Kota is a student’s hub. Be it engineering or medical, the ratio of girls is to boys is always skewed. In my batch itself, out of 65 students, only about 12 are girls. I don’t exactly feel uncomfortable in the class, because in school too the ratio has never been 50:50, but it just makes me wonder why the number of girls are so less. I come from a small city, Bhilwara, Rajasthan, and my parents have always been supportive of my choices. I just wonder if every girl is getting the same opportunity, and if not, what can be done?”

Over the last five years, India has produced over 4,500 more female doctors than male ones

If we look into state-wise statistics, number of female doctors per 10,000 population ranges from 7.5 in Chandigarh to 0.26 in Bihar. TOI reported that a sociologist, Dr. Mita Bhadra also observed that positions of leadership in academics and 50.8 percent administration are still mostly occupied by men.

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What could be the reason for this low number? Social, cultural? What stops these women from converting their education into a career? A paper in the Indian Journal of Gender Studies suggested that one of the reasons medicine is still a male dominated industry is because of its long, tiring working hours. Doctors do not have a 9-5 job, and many women therefore choose not to go ahead with the profession. But is this due to the social an cultural upbringing which suggests women confine to their homes and let go of their dreams? This is a question that needs further research and more than that, a mindful change in the social upbringing of women.

Feature Image Courtesy: Alfa img


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