Nine hundred fifty-three physicians who also identified as parents responded to the survey asking about their careers, parenting duties, and how the two often clash.
•Women were more likely to answer the survey in general and reported that parenting has negatively affected promotions for them.
•Men didn’t feel the same about promotions and didn’t see a connection to promotions and their parenting.
All respondents, men and women, acknowledged that talking about their parenting duties and work/life balance at work is hard to do. They say it’s difficult to bring up in conversation and an uncomfortable one to have.
The survey revealed what we already knew: Working moms struggle to keep up at work and balance their childcare duties more than men.
•24% of women surveyed said they turned down a leadership role because of having children as opposed to 19% of men.
•53% of women have had to turn down a project. For men, it was 43%
•47% of women had opted to not join a work committee because of their parenting expectations. For men, it was 37%.
The study, which has been published on JAMA Network Open, was done to identify the work culture and career advancement of physicians who are also parents based on gender. While there were expected results, in a surprise revelation both men and women reported that pregnancy is well accepted in their field. There is support for pregnancy that includes schedule flexibility and additional support when needed.
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic is being seen as a way to bridge the gap between that work/life balance and seeing your kids. For the first time, not only doctors were struggling to perform regular work duties and being parents. This has dropped the stigma for physician parents to put work first and not talk about whether or not their schedule is getting too hectic.
The survey was timely considering how working moms, who are doctors, had to somehow do remote learning with their kids and still care for patients. The University of Michigan Lab Blog reported on these survey results and spoke with one of the researchers, Dr. Helen Kang Morgan. Dr. Morgan has two school-age daughters and knows the balance of the struggle well.
She said, “The pandemic has helped us normalize conversations about how parenting and children impact our careers.”
Just talking about these problems would be such a benefit to all working parents but especially working moms. Dr. Morgan hopes that some coronavirus changes, like virtual conferences, are here to stay. The pandemic has also shown that the flexibility is there, it just isn’t utilized very much.
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Source: The JAMA Network, Univ. Of Michigan-Lab Blog
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