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Why Women Might Choose a Career in Pediatric Surgery and Ensuring There Are No Impediments to Selecting the Best
Introduction Although pediatric surgery in Australasia has a higher proportion of women than any other surgical specialty, women remain underrepresented. There is concern that residual impediments may still deter women from choosing this specialty as a career option.
Materials and Methods A survey of years 2 to 6 medical students, with focused analysis on those who selected pediatric surgery as their most (or least) attractive surgical specialty and the characteristics they deemed important when considering a surgical career.
Results The survey was completed by 357 students of whom 50 selected pediatric surgery as their most attractive surgical specialty and 12 as their least attractive surgical specialty, at equal gender rates. The specialty was not perceived as being prestigious, well paid, or one that emphasized technical skill but was perceived as having good work-life balance, when compared with the other surgical specialties. Those who selected pediatric surgery as their most attractive specialty were otherwise less likely to choose a career in surgery.
Conclusion Pediatric surgery is perceived as being less aligned to characteristics stereotypically associated with males and more with those characteristics associated with females. Overall, it seems to be more female friendly than other surgical specialties. It would behove the pediatric surgical community to better understand how it is perceived, so that perceptions can be aligned to reality and gender diversity can be increased.
Received: 26 August 2019
Accepted: 03 December 2019
01 January 2020 (online)
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