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Table 4 Implication of feminisation on the workplace

From: How do applicants, students and physicians think about the feminisation of medicine? - a questionnaire-survey

TopicsNaSample of responses
1. Doctor team composition
 Relative increase in part-time workers.31“More and more part-time work. There is a decreasing willingness to take over on-call duties because of family reasons.”
 Increase of female doctors.29“Almost only female colleagues! (except for the attending doctors)”
“A lot of female applicants for open positions, only few male applicants.”
2. Organisation of hospital work
 Increase of work absences due to pregnancy and maternity/parental leave.28“High ratio of female doctors in our department, resulting in work absences because of maternity leave, pregnancy, sickness of children.”
 Increased difficulties in organising overnight/weekend shifts due to part-time work or work absences.16“The organisation of overnight/weekend shifts with an increased ratio of mothers demands more flexibility from all the doctors. In my opinion, also more staff are needed. Gaps in the staffing level during pregnancy, maternity leave and parental time cannot simply be compensated for by substitute staff. Instead, incentives should be created.”
3. Diversity of the medical profession
 Profession becomes lopsided because of missing male colleagues.14“Women are highly overrepresented.”
“There are way too few male therapists who can be healthy “role models” especially to male patients with pathological developments.”
“Our wards are almost entirely made up of female therapists and doctors, which is unfavourable for some of our patients. There is a high demand for part-time work which makes teamwork and additional scientific research difficult.”
 Less time for invasive therapy.5“There is a tendency for less invasive therapy because of an increased ratio of female doctors.”
4. Demand for structural changes
 Adjustments of working-time models and staffing levels are necessary to adapt to the feminised workforce.17“The present working-time models only allow a limited use of mothers. This results in a surplus work load for male doctors as they have to cover for the strenuous overnight/weekend shifts.”
“There are problems in organising overnight/weekend shifts: part-time working mothers, but a lack of job-sharing work models and adjustments for part-time work which are highly needed! Because: feminisation of medicine!!!”
“More women, more mothers, more part-time work, more pregnancies = less workforce for overnight shifts etc., leading to a build-up of work. Part-time work has been accepted by our institution but the concept has not been well translated into our daily hospital work.”
“Without making a judgement here, it can be observed that a fluctuation of our staffing levels because of pregnancy and sickness of children at home is more frequent with female colleagues. If the institute was better equipped to compensate for these fluctuations, it wouldn’t be a problem. But it is not.”
5. Working morale
 Family-friendliness of the profession has become more important than career; less passion/motivation for the profession.13“Almost all attendees are male. Women oftentimes leave the clinic.”
“Less women want to be self-employed; being an employee is more advantageous for family planning. There is a tendency towards shared practices.”
“As there are no overnight or weekend shifts in pathology, we have an increasing ratio of female doctors. Unfortunately, it seems that many female doctors make that choice because of the working time instead of a passion for the field. This results in a decrease in motivation and zeal and therefore in work quality. The actual important function of a pathologist is not appreciated.”
6. Leading positions
 Despite feminisation there are more men in leading positions.6“More female than male employees, especially part-time. These jobs have little chances for promotion. If there is a vacancy, it is filled with a man.”
7. Working climate
 Negative working climate because of a work surplus for male and childless doctors.7“More pregnant women, more (single) mothers in part-time work, more work absences, more work for the others (men and those without children)!”
8. Patient care
 Patients wish to be treated by a male therapist/doctor.7“Male doctors and therapists are scarce in medical fields with children and adolescents. But parents specifically ask for them.”
 “Some parents of our young patients choose a doctor of a specific gender. Quote from a patient’s mother: “From nursery to the end of high school, there has been mainly female supervision for my son – please now not the orthodontist as well.” After saying that, they chose a male colleague.”
11. Overall evaluation of responsesNa 
 Emotionally negative responses60 
 Emotionally positive responses8 
 Emotionally neutral responses56 
12. Perspective towards the future
 Negative perspective: I don’t believe that medicine is prepared for the change caused by feminisation or can adapt to it. I believe working conditions will be aggravated further in the future.46 
 Positive perspective: I believe there will be a change of working conditions because of feminisation. I believe working conditions will improve.14 
 Neutral perspective: Working conditions should change to adapt to the feminisation of medicine.11 
  1. aN Number of responses