More than 50 percent of the U.S. population is female, and nearly 50 percent of medical students are now female. Thirty-four percent of Pennsylvania physicians are also female. According to recent statistics published by the American Medical Women's Association, 70 percent of women physicians say they've experienced gender bias at work.
Guest blogger Sherry Blumenthal, MD, is chair of PAMED's Women's Physician Caucus. Click here to join.
The unique issues faced by women in the field of medicine in terms of discrimination, sexual harassment, balancing family and work responsibilities, child-bearing, breast-feeding, and other health issues need open discussion in the larger medical community.
In early February 2017, the Pennsylvania Medical Society's (PAMED's) Board of Trustees approved the creation of the first women's caucus in PAMED's history. In the coming months, we will be working to offer our women physician members a forum to:
- Learn about effective networking
- Voice concerns and share common experiences
- Educate and encourage paths to leadership roles in organized and academic medicine
- Establish a network of women physician leaders
- Advocate to advance PAMED policy on issues affecting women as well as advise the PAMED Board on such issues
The Women Physicians Caucus (WPC) is not designed to be "separate but equal," but rather to facilitate women sitting at the table in equal representation with their male peers.
The WPC is open to all women in medicine, including medical students who are PAMED members. The agenda and action items will be set by the Caucus. Action items will become part of the agenda for the Board of Trustees and the House of Delegates, helping to shape PAMED policy and advocacy.
Some issues of concern for women physicians include:
- Choice of specialties based on interest and ability, not on the willingness of others in the field to accept that our priorities may be different
- Encouraging mentors and mentoring
- Leadership training to advance in academics and medical societies
- Opportunities for training in public speaking and asserting oneself in group situations
- Advocacy for health policy and public health affecting women in their reproductive years
Most communication will be via blog, electronic, and social media, with face-to-face meetings when possible through the county medical societies and at PAMED's House of Delegates and Annual Education Conference.
While sharing ideas and coping strategies as a woman in medicine are part of the mission of the WPC, our overarching goal is to share equal power and influence in the "hall" of medicine, acknowledging that our perspectives, practice styles, biology, and priorities may differ from those of our male colleagues, but are as important and valuable.
PAMED invites all women physicians and medical students who are PAMED members to join the WPC.
As a woman and an OB/GYN who has served women and their families my entire career, I hope to welcome many women physicians to this group. It is something I'm truly passionate about!
Join PAMED's WPC
If you have any questions, please contact Robin Rothermel, Senior Director of Physician Support, at
You must be a PAMED member to participate. If you're not yet a PAMED member, you can join at
www.pamedsoc.org/join or by calling our Knowledge Center at 855-PAMED4U (855-726-3348).