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 Under Representation of Women in Surgery in Nigeria: By Choice or by Design?

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Author(s): Jerry G. Makama | Ekundayo S. Garba | Emmauel A. Ameh

Journal: Oman Medical Journal
ISSN 1999-768X

Volume: 27;
Issue: 856396;
Start page: 66;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Female doctors | Surgical career | challenges | Nigeria

ABSTRACT
 Background: Female Doctors’ lack of interest in surgical careers has raised much concern in recent times. An understanding of the factors responsible for this lack of interest and evolving attitude is needed. The aim of this report was to determine the local factors that may be responsible and the most likely surgical specialty female doctors would prefer.Methods: This is a cross sectional study involving all female (consultant and resident) doctors in one teaching hospital. Information was obtained using a structured questionnaire which determined what formed the respondent’s choice of present specialty. It also included the likely local factors that might have some bearings on the interest of female doctors in surgery. Data obtained were analyzed using SPSS version 11.5.Results: There were a total of 105 respondents. The age range was26 - 63 years (mean: 26.88 2.19). The factors that were considered as deterrents to female doctor choice of surgical career were: a)the impact on their time for family and other social engagements 29 (27.6� b) heavy work load 22 (21� c) involvement of a lot of physical effort 18 (17.1� d) lack of women in surgery 9 (8.6� and e) lack of role models 4 (3.8� Twenty three (21.9�20considered all the above factors. The subspecialty preferred by most female was plastic and reconstructive surgery, followed by Pediatric surgery.Conclusion: The rigorous requirements of the training and practice of surgery deterred female doctors’ interest in choosingand sustaining a surgical career. To maintain surgery as a premier career choice, female doctors should find surgery to be professionally and personally rewarding.
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