What women want

It’s no secret that physicians these days are looking for jobs that will offer them the ability to balance work and life - such as the ability to raise a family and maintain a professional career.

That quest for balance may be attributable to the increased number of women physicians in the workforce. Or it could be that women in medicine gravitate to specialties that already accommodate flexibility, whether in daily schedules or amount of time in residency, or the ability to take a leave of absence and return without penalty.

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Top 10 specialties chosen by women under age 45

In order of frequency

  1. Obstetrics/gynecology
  2. Pediatrics
  3. Dermatology
  4. Child psychiatry
  5. Medical genetics
  6. Allergy & immunology
  7. Family medicine
  8. Psychiatry
  9. Pathology
  10. Public health

Source: The Career Cost of Family, by Claudia Goldin and
Lawrence F. Katz; American Medical Association, 2009.

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In their paper, "The Career Cost of Family," Harvard economists Claudia Goldin and Lawrence F. Katz note one surprising find - an increase in the number of young women physicians who are specializing in colon and rectal surgeries.

"One of the reasons for the large shift of women to this surgical specialty is the expansion of routine colonoscopies," the authors note. "That growth meant both a large increase in the demand for colon and rectal surgeons and also that their procedures are very often scheduled and routine."

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