As far as I can recall, medicine has always been the most sought-after field of study in Pakistan. It requires dedicating years of your life to evaluate, analyze, diagnose, prescribe, examine, cure and prevent a pathological condition.
From the time when people used to die of menial diseases like fever or flu, the homo-sapiens have come a long way. Now, medicine has become so advanced that we can cut open a person, fix their heart, patch them back up again and they become as good as new (forgive my lack of medical panache; I avoided getting into the technical jargons of explaining a by-pass).
But no matter how far we come, the age-old debate on whether men make better doctors than women (and vice versa) still remains a hot-topic amongst medical and non-medical peers alike. A sensible person would say that one who can successfully manage to dedicate more time and efforts to their profession would become a better doctor. But is that really the only defining factor?
Men can invest more time
Since men don’t have the same domestic responsibilities to cater to as women do, they have more leverage to give-in longer hours and dedicate their time to their careers. Women, on the other hand, have to look after their household responsibilities, their husbands and children and other chores, which makes it hard for most female doctors in Pakistan to excel professionally.
Men are more productive
According to a recent study, male general practitioners were more productive and efficient in their work than their female counterparts. This means that male doctors were treating more patients in lesser time, making them more dynamic.
Men dominate the field of surgery
And this is particularly true for Pakistan. Take whichever specialty you like. Men, who were previously considered reckless and un-groomed, now contribute 70% more than women to the world of cosmetic surgery. While women have become successful dermatologists, very few have been able to tap the surgery field because of the amount it requires to be invested. Similarly, while you will find many female general physicians and pediatrics, the number of female cardio surgeons is very less.
This happens perhaps because it is harder for women to strike a personal-professional life balance.
Men are excelling in traditionally female-oriented fields
Perhaps gynecology is a case in point. Many people believe that since men do not have a female’s reproductive system, they cannot fully understand the pain a woman goes through or what it feels like to have a uterus. I guess they have forgotten the work of Patrick Steptoe who made the first test tube baby and did immense research on laparoscopy to diagnose infertility in women. Then we have another legendary doctor, Professor Ian Donald, who invented the ultrasound which is very helpful nowadays in pregnancy. Alongside this, men have become more sensitive to female healthcare and can cater for female patients as well as any female doctor might.
Men give more practical advice
Be it in real life or as doctors, men give more practical advice to their friends/patients than women do and this quality makes them better at their jobs. They can help make a patient think over all the pros and cons before deciding for a particular treatment or surgery. This helps them become better healthcare professionals.
While I have all the respect in the world for female doctors, coming across these points made me realize that, sometime, gender too can be a defining feature as to who is better in doing their job.