Individual and systemic challenges specific to female family physicians in their first five years of practice create obstacles that can result in disproportionate rates of burnout and negative impacts on career trajectories, according to a new paper.
The article, published in the journal Canadian Family Physician, is authored by three female family physicians nearing the end of their first five years of practice and outlines practical strategies to achieve gender equity and work-life integration.
The paper highlights systemic challenges including implicit and overt bias, a shortage of women in leadership positions, a lack of supportive and comprehensive leave policies and gender-based pay inequities. Individual challenges include imposter syndrome, balancing personal and professional responsibilities and restrictive gender norms.
The paper calls for implicit bias and sexual harassment training for physicians of all career stages, more flexibility in scheduling to respect work-life responsibilities and a review of which payment models widen or lessen the gender-pay gap. In particular, the authors advocate for remuneration systems that adequately compensate family physicians for time spent with patients and complexity of care.
They call for the development of comprehensive family, caregiving and medical leave policies, saying the lack of such policies disproportionately affects women and those in early career.