[Factors associated with working among female physicians in Japan].

Kyoko Nomura, Mikiya Sato, Shinobu Tsurugano, Eiji Yano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Japan faces a very serious physician shortage and needs female doctors. However, a previous survey in Japan showed that female physicians were more likely than their male counterparts to resign from their jobs due to marriage and childbearing. According to studies in Western countries, the professional motivation of female physicians is seriously affected by sex-based inequalities in professional opportunities. The purpose of this study was to compare men and women in terms of their encounters with sex-based inequalities in professional opportunities and their related experiences at work, and to investigate factors associated with working among female physicians. We sent self-administered questionnaires to 1,346 physicians who graduated from a private university-affiliated school of medicine in June 2009. Beginning with a question asking for responses to the statement, "Females are less likely to be promoted in medical school," the instrument included 14 questions addressing sex-based inequalities in work opportunities; we further developed the scale using factor analyses. We inquired about disadvantages experienced due to sex-based inequalities at work by asking "Have you ever had an experience in which you were not able to obtain a salaried position, an opportunity for promotion, or a permanent position at work because of your gender?" Data were obtained from 452 men (mean age, 48 years) and 224 women (mean age, 43 years); the response rate was 44% for men and 71% for women. Forty women (18%) acknowledged encountering sex-based disadvantages, whereas only 15 men (3%) reported such phenomena (P < 0.001). Women had higher scores than men on all but one question on sex-based inequalities in work opportunities. Sixty-six percent of female physicians were full-time workers, 32% were part-time workers, and the remaining 2% were unemployed. After adjusting for disadvantageous experiences, having or not having a child, and household income, logistic regression analyses showed that part-time workers were more likely than full-time workers to be married and to report encountering sex-based inequalities in work opportunities, whereas full-time workers were more likely than part-time workers to have qualified as specialists. The data suggest that qualifying as a specialist and encountering sex-based inequalities in work opportunities are associated with working among female physicians.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-445
Number of pages13
Journal[Nihon kōshū eisei zasshi] Japanese journal of public health
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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