Today, we celebrate the contributions and strides women physicians are making in Canada. From our earliest pioneer Margaret Ann Bulkey, who lived life as a man, so she could be a military doctor, to Dr. Nadine Caron, Canada’s first female indigenous general surgeon and a bridge-builder between western medicine and traditional healing, women physicians are breaking the gender divide and advancing equity in the medical profession.
Today’s medical schools now have an almost even split between women and men entering the profession. In 2017, two out of five physicians in Canada were women. By 2030, half of practising physicians will be women.
Despite this progress, women physicians continue to face challenges. They are five times more likely than their male counterparts to face opposition to career advancements and three times more likely to experience disrespectful or punitive actions in the workplace. Even in the age of #MeToo, assault and sexism continue to be shared experiences across generations of women physicians.
The presence of women in medicine has benefited patients and has had positive effects on medical practice and culture, quality of care, and health care organisations. Let’s unlock the future potential of health care and our society by ensuring voices from diverse backgrounds are heard. Let’s design health care policies and programs to ensure we are delivering high-quality care and treatment for everyone.
The CMA is proud to work with and support our women physicians. On International Women’s Day, and every day, they deserve recognition, respect and equity in the workplace where they provide exceptional care to patients and help individuals live up to their full potential.