Original Article

Role of Physician Gender in the Modern Practice of Obstetrics and Gynecology: Do Obstetrician-Gynecologists Perceive Discrimination from their Sex?

Authors: Mark Turrentine, MD, Mildred Ramirez, MD, Lauren Stark, MPP, Carrie Snead, MA, Jay Schulkin, PhD


Objectives: It is unclear whether obstetrician-gynecologists (OBGYNs) experience gender discrimination as a result of patient and organizational gender preferences. Our objective was to evaluate whether the gender preference for OBGYNs resulted in perceptions of discrimination by the physician while simultaneously assessing their patients’ views for choosing their OBGYN.

Methods: A survey assessed whether OBGYNs’ perceptions of patients and employers’ preferences for gender in selecting an OBGYN affected their clinical practice and resulted in feelings of discrimination. Providers’ patients simultaneously completed a survey to explore the role of gender in the selection of their OBGYN. The Mann-Whitney U test was used for comparisons. A P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.

Results: Thirty-four physicians (97% response rate) and 803 patients (81% response rate) completed the survey. The majority of male physicians agreed that their gender negatively affects their patient practice volume (60%), whereas no female physicians agreed with this statement (0%, P < 0.01). Female physicians were more likely to agree (46%) that they are discriminated against because of gender in terms of salary as compared with male physicians (20%, P = 0.049), however. Although more women who see a female OBGYN (compared with those who see a male OBGYN) perceive that their physician’s gender is important to them (62% versus 20%, P < 0.01), the most frequent reason all women chose their OBGYN is the “rating” of the physician.

Conclusions: Female and male OBGYNs perceive bias because of their gender; however, the former is because of compensation and the latter is because of patient preferences. The majority of women choose their OBGYN based on the physician’s rating and not on the physician’s sex, however.
Posted in: Obstetrics and Gynecology72

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