Women doctors 'held back' by unequal division of home labour

Women doctors may be being held back in their careers because they spend more hours on domestic responsibilities than men, according to a US study.

Women doctors may be being held back in their careers because they spend more hours on domestic responsibilities than men, according to a US study.

The study, published in the Annals of Medicine, investigates the career progression of an elite group of doctors who recently received prestigious early career grants from the National Institutes of Health. They found men and women were not progressing at the same rate.

Dr. Reshma Jagsi, a radiation oncologist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and her team surveyed just over 1,000 doctors. Most had children and 437 were female. Single men spent the most time on research and women with children spent the least at 35 hours a week, compared to men with children who spent 40 hours a week.

Although parents spent around the same time on teaching, caring for patients and doing other paid work, women also spent 44 hours on domestic work, compared to 32 hours for men. Women were more likely to have partners who worked full time – some 86% had partners who worked full time compared to just 45% of men. Even for those women whose partners worked full time, women were much more likely to take time off to deal with childcare emergencies – 43% compared to just 12% of men.





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