This is the kind of post I'd usually make on Mothers in Medicine, but someone has already posted there today and I'm overeager, so it's going here instead! Plus it's probably been discussed there ad nauseum anyway.
A while ago, I was involved in a vicious forum discussion about how women are ruining medicine because "work 20% to 25% fewer hours than their male counterparts."
Women doctors in the U.S. work less—47 hours per week on average, versus 53 for men. They also see about 10% fewer patients and tend to take more time off early in their careers. "It's pretty much an even bet that within a year or two of entering practice they will go on maternity leave," says Phillip Miller, a vice-president of the medical recruiting firm Merritt, Hawkins & Associates. "Then they are going to want more flexible hours.
(Sorry, I'm too lazy to find the reference.)
Yes, I know women are lazy bums because we only work 47 hours per week. On the other hand, women are more likely to pick specialties men don't want, like primary care, pediatrics, or ob/gyn.
Anyway, without further discussion, here are a few choice comments from the discussion that still really grind my gears:
"If a woman wants to get pregnant, then she should have a job where she knows this is possible and convenient for the company. If someone wants a job with less hours, they should go find one, not try to get less hours in the job they're in."
"It's a matter of economics, not sexism. You wouldn't hire a heart surgeon to scrub the floors, because it's not a proper utilization of their skills - it would be a major waste of training and resources. You hire someone with a less developed skill set, and free up the surgeon to do what they, and only they, can do.
Likewise, it's a waste training and resources to have a heart surgeon raising babies, something that, to be honest, people with no formal education can and have been doing for millenia.
In the end, it has nothing to do with sex or gender. If the heart surgeon is a woman, and has an au pair or husband to raise the baby - bully for her. But if doesn't use her skills to do what only she can do, then she's wasting the time of the people who trained her and the money of the taxpayers who funded her training."
"This is not an issue because women take six months off for pregnancy and delivery. This is an issue because they take a decade off to raise children.
There are a fixed number of medical-school positions, and this number has changed very little over the past two decades while the population has increased by nearly 30%. Assuming that most doctors work 30 years or so (a little after age thirty to a little after age sixty), a woman who takes a decade off from work to raise children serves as a physician for only 2/3 of the time that a non-child rearing colleague would.
It may not be fair, but for some reason, most of the people who leave work to raise children are women.
Yes, it's hard to be a mother (I imagine, I don't and will never, know), but the reality is, there are a lot more women in the world who can raise children than can repair an obstructed bowel, and part of pursuing any advanced degree is a certain social obligation to actually use that investment for the betterment of humanity. If you've taken a medical school slot (and a federally funded residency) you should use it. If you're just going to squirt out kids you could have done that with a tenth grade education.
I'm an asshole, I know. But with a finite number of med schools, and a finite number of slots, accepting people who will practice only a fraction of the time of their colleagues is a net loss. This in one reason that it is so hard to get into medical school."