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Original Research Paper

Women doctors’ perceptions of gender issues in their workplace: Valuable comments from their interviews in a Japanese region

Authors:

Manabu Murakami ,

Hokkaido University, Hokkaido, JP
About Manabu
Department of Forensic Medicine, Graduate School of Medicine
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Hidenobu Kawabata,

Hokkaido University, Hokkaido, JP
About Hidenobu
Department of Medical Statistics and Healthcare Systems Research, Graduate School of Medicine
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Megumi Kawabata,

Hokkaido University, Hokkaido, JP
About Megumi
Department of Medical Statistics and Healthcare Systems Research, Graduate School of Medicine
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Masaji Maezawa

Hokkaido University, Hokkaido, JP
About Masaji
Department of Medical Statistics and Healthcare Systems Research, Graduate School of Medicine
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Abstract

The number of women doctors is increasing annually in Japan as well as all over the world. The M shaped distribution of their career path is infamous. Preventing the continuous turnover of women doctors and promoting reinstatement could be a key issue. The aim of this study was to clarify the perceptions of gender issues women doctors have regarding their workplace in a Japanese region. We interviewed nine women affiliated with “Hokkaido Medical Women’s Association,” a regional society of women doctors in Japan. Semi-structured interviews lasting 60 minutes took place. The main topics were what they considered to be gender issues in their clinical practice. All interviews were transcribed in verbatim, and the scripts were analyzed, then repeated themes were identified. Nine themes emerged and were classified into three patterns. (A) The women doctors’ own problems: 1) anxiety about future life events, 2) work life balance, 3) fear of falling behind and losing up-to-date knowledge and skills. (B) Requirements for mentors or family support: 4) shortage of women doctors as role models, 5) spousal or other relatives’ lack of understanding. (C) Institutional or environmental issues: 6) heavy workload in their practice, 7) lack of a support system for raising their children, 8) lack of a system for returning to work, 9) “glass ceiling” issues. These themes were in line with overseas studies which have reported identifiable obstacles for women in medicine. Institutional or environmental support systems rather than personal problems need to be improved above all to rectify the situation.
How to Cite: Murakami, M., Kawabata, H., Kawabata, M. and Maezawa, M., 2013. Women doctors’ perceptions of gender issues in their workplace: Valuable comments from their interviews in a Japanese region. South-East Asian Journal of Medical Education, 7(2), pp.22–25. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/seajme.v7i2.136
Published on 21 Dec 2013.
Peer Reviewed

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