Since the percentage rates of men and women graduating from medical school is close to a fifty-fifty split, it might surprise you that the difference between men and women actively practicing as doctors for the majority of their career is larger than you might expect. The percentage of practicing female doctors drops off dramatically each decade after their twenties, ending at between 10-20% for female doctors who are sixty years of age or older. After those attrition numbers are taken into consideration, the average percentage of practicing female physicians is an average of around 30% for most states.
Considering how many women are qualified to practice as doctors, it’s a shame that there’s such a high attrition rate for them. As the Atlantic Monthly article cited above points out, however, more aggressive diversity policies at doctor’s offices would go quite a ways in alleviating the gender disparity. I imagine that a more generous, wide-scale, and federally enforced paid maternity leave would likely help immensely, as well. Part of the reason behind some of the gender discrepancy is connected to unequal Medicare funding: in 2014, studies showed that female doctors make about half as much as male doctors from the Medicare system. All the more reason, perhaps, to enter into the medical field and try to help reverse the trend.