July 14, 2024

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These physician specialties have the biggest gender imbalances | Fields of medicine with gender imbalances

2 min read

Gender has proven to be a factor related to which medical specialties residents pursue following their graduation from medical school.

Data for 2022–2023—gathered by the AMA and the Association of American Medical Colleges as part of their annual National Graduate Medical Education (GME) Census and published in JAMA®—offers some insight on which medical specialties are most popular among male and female physicians entering residency.

Gender balance is one of the factors that students may consider when choosing a specialty. FREIDA™ is an AMA tool that offers searchable, sortable data on 13,000-plus residency and fellowship programs accredited by the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education, and it can help you gather the information you need to find the right match.

Additional AMA resources to aid you with your medical specialty choice include the FREIDA Specialty Guide and the AMA “Shadow Me” Specialty Series, which speaks to real physicians for specialty-specific insight.

On the whole, when adding in specialties, subspecialties and combined specialties, women account for 48.2% of active GME trainees in the U.S. That number is a slight uptick from data collected in the prior year’s census.

Residency specialty choice trends among women remained relative consistent with prior-year data. Among specialties with at least 100 active residents, women make up a larger percentage of residents in:

  • Obstetrics and gynecology—87.2%.
  • Pediatrics/psychiatry/child and adolescent psychiatry (combined)—75.5%.
  • Pediatrics—73.6%.
  • Allergy and immunology—65.8%.
  • Public health and general preventive medicine—65.2%.
  • Dermatology—61.7%

Learn more about the AMA Women Physicians Section, which seeks to influence and contribute to AMA policy and program development on issues of importance to women physicians, and to increase the number and influence of women physicians in leadership roles.

Male physicians accounted for the majority of physicians in this year’s census. Popular specialties in which men made up a significant portion of the resident workforce include:

  • Orthopedic surgery—79.6%.
  • Interventional radiology (integrated)—77.5%.
  • Neurological surgery—76.2%.
  • Radiology-diagnostic—71.8%.
  • Urology—67.7%.

Specialties that featured a near equal mix of men and women among the population of current medical residents included neurology, general surgery and psychiatry.

For those currently training, the AMA Thriving in Residency series has guidance and resources on navigating the fast-paced demands of training, maintaining health and well-being, handling medical student-loan debt, and other essential tips about succeeding in graduate medical training.

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