The trend of feminization of the doctors workforce in Oman: is it a phenomenon that could rouse the health system?

Purpose: It has been observed an increased of participation of women in the medical profession over several countries worldwide over the past decades. This study aimed at addressing the of health workforce feminization among doctors in Oman and exploring the health system readiness in dealing with this phenomenon. Methods: Literature review was conducted to study the global trend of female’s participation in the medical profession. Furthermore, reports and records were reviewed regarding the human resources and gender of the health care workers, specifically the doctors in Oman. Results: Findings regarding the medical students showed higher number of females compared to males (64% females in 2015 compared to 54% in 2009). A similar trend was observed in the postgraduate students (61.5% of the graduated residents were females). As for active workforce, the Ministry of Health statistics revealed that female doctors represent 42% of the total doctors compared to 27% in 1990. It increased 4% from 1990 to 2000, doubled to 8% from 2000 to 2010. The proportion of specialized female doctors reached 31% in 2015 compared to 21% in 1990. There also was gender variation among specialities. The proportion of female General Practitioners reached 50% in 2015 compared to 30% in 1990 (4% increase every five years). Conclusions: The feminization phenomenon in Oman requires more attention in order to assess the health system readiness of meeting the needs and accommodating the females' as the main care providers. The trend can have important consequences on future planning, given that women doctors differ from men in how they participate in the workforce. It may also potentially contribute to a shortage in supply due to difference in preferences and consequently affect the skill-mix and productivity. The cultural, social context and dimensions need to be explored; and feasible options to be provided for better planning.

Author(s): Nazar Abdelrahim Mohammed Elfaki

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