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Increased feminine matriculation in Argentinean Medical schools: Identification of possible reasons underlying a seemingly broader phenomenon

Abstract

Larisa Ivón Carrera, Alicia Itatí Palermo, and Alberto Enrique D’Ottavio

This paper examines reasons of potential relevance concerning the increase of female matriculation through a poll, applied to 130 female and 75 male students, among 500 admitted ones at two Argentinean medical schools (2003- 2005), both of them relevant in what concerns to their dimensions and standards. This poll was qualitatively combined with an interview performed to 52 gender equated students among the 205 participants.Majority of females (82%) and males (80%) firstly thought of Medicine at the age of 15±1 years and 16±1 years old and made their final decision for it when aged 16±1 years (85% females) and 17±1 years (84% males). For making this decision, females reported that their higher influence from final decision was from persons close to them and mass media (39% versus 52%, p<0.008), and higher attraction for Biology (53% vs. 10%, p<0.007). They did not give relevance to the social status of Medicine and its likely condition of independent profession was not reported as relevant either (2% versus 18% and 2% versus 30%, respectively; p<0.007 in both cases). Most participants (93.5 % of both gender combined) perceived Medicine as their only self-satisfying career, referring no previous university studies. Qualitatively, females reported feeling capable of facing the challenges of Medicine and of reaching any hierarchic level. Likewise, Medicine was believed to offer access to several functions, providing autonomy and possibilities for promoting human aspects and personal values. Exceeding their roles beyond that of a socio-cultural interactive image women-mother- physician, they envisage to the male-tailored Medicine as a challenge for reverting such status.

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