New Medscape Report on Women Physicians Finds Work-Life Balance the Major Career Challenge

Stress of Balancing Personal, Professional Demands Outstrips Concerns with Compensation, Parity

A new Medscape report on the lives of women physicians finds that the demands of a career in medicine put stress on primary relationships, influence decisions regarding how many children to have and may have an impact on whether to seek promotions.

Nearly two-thirds of women surveyed (64%) cited work-life balance as the main challenge they face as physicians, as compared with only 43% who cited compensation and 16% who noted career development. More than 3,000 women physicians across more than 30 specialties responded to the Medscape Women Physician Report: The Issues They Care About, conducted from March 6-May 1, 2020. Other challenges included combining parenthood and work (30%), gender equity (19%), and relationships with colleagues and staff (16%).  Age discrimination and sexual harassment were noted less frequently.

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Although work-life balance was cited most often by women age 45 and younger (71%), the issue was also a factor for 60% of women over age 45.

“Although women physicians have chosen to be doctors and most love what they do, medicine can be a demanding profession, with work that often requires evening or weekend hours, which most view as personal time,” says Hansa Bhargava, MD, pediatrician, and WebMD/Medscape Senior Medical Director.  “This can lead to ‘personal time tradeoffs,’ which can be challenging.”

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