The Gender Gap in Medical Professionals

648 Words3 Pages
51 percent of the United States is female but only 34.4 percent of doctors are women. While 90.4 percent of nurses are female (“Women in Medicine”; “Male Nurses Becoming”), the women who do become doctors earn an astounding 25 percent less than their male counterparts (Groves). These staggering figures are only a single piece in the larger overall lack of women in STEM, or science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, which has remained prevalent since the beginning of these fields. Although women are underrepresented in these STEM fields, this is not due to ineptitude, but instead it is a result of the force of societal stereotypes coupled with their wider range of abilities. The recent increase in women’s association with STEM seems promising, however, it is not actually due to decreasing cultural stereotypes.
The lack of women in STEM fields, though evident, is not due to incompetence as some suggest. Previous scientific studies “proving” the intellectual superiority of men are shown to be based on faulty science (Gould). Gould’s examination of previous scientific studies on the topic in “Women’s Brains” truly demonstrates how the stereotype of women not being intelligent in STEM fields has propagated through early false scientific conclusions. In reality, numerous studies, specifically one conducted by James Flynn, an IQ testing expert, show that women score equal to or higher than men on IQ tests around the world (Gann). This study effectively relinquishes the myth of any intellectual inequality between genders by demonstrating that the genders are truly equal in intelligence. These studies, along with a plethora of others, essentially verify the equivalence between men and women.
Although women are of equal intelligence...

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...edly positive, it is not a sign of diminishing stereotypes.
The idea of nurses being predominantly female is widely accepted. It conforms to the stereotype of women as caring and motherly while also adhering to the idea that women are not natural leaders because nurses work under doctors, who are primarily male. As part of a larger problem, the female nurse stereotype exemplifies the lack of women in STEM careers. This lack is caused by the increased well-roundedness of women as well as strong cultural stereotypes, not by inability. Although there have been encouraging strides for women in technical fields, they are not genuinely caused by abating stereotypes. To reach true equality, women should be encouraged to join STEM fields, not limited by unwarranted preconceptions. Only when gender stereotypes are shed will women legitimately close the gender gap in STEM.
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