Last fall, U.S. medical schools enrolled more women than men for the first time ever, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. Many Texas medical schools followed suit, with UT Southwestern also fitting into the trend.
While 50.7 percent of the 21,338 medical students who matriculated in 2017 were female according to the study, UTSW students were 50.4 percent women, despite 51 percent of applicants being male. UTSW was also the Texas school most likely to have out-of-state applicants.
The study says that 50 years prior, only 9.8 percent of U.S. medical school enrollees were female. The study notes that women are still more likely to not graduate from medical school, though they are less likely to withdraw fro academic reasons than men. Women are more likely to leave medical school for non-academic reasons such as having children or accompanying a spouse in a move away from school.
Currently, 34 percent of physicians practicing nationwide are female, with Massachusetts having the greatest percentage of female physicians at 41, and Idaho physicians being the most male, at 23 percent. Male doctors make more $105,000 more than women on average.
Despite having a fewer female physicians and getting paid less on average, women physicians outperform their male counterparts. A study from Harvard Public Health says that if male physicians performed as well as their female counterparts, 32,000 lives could be saved each year.
But despite women’s higher performance, the AAMC reports that women account for just 17 percent of deans and department chairs nationwide. A study at Tufts University showed that women are less likely to ask for a promotion, less likely to be encouraged to do so. The Tufts study made several recommendations: “Require an annual promotion review with each faculty member; expand division chiefs’ performance reviews to include advancement data for the faculty members they oversee; spell out promotion criteria at the time of hire; and keep the promotion process top of mind through regularly scheduled presentations and the assignment of faculty mentors.”