LEFO - Legeforskningsinstituttet

Institute for Studies of the Medical Profession


Women doctors in Norway: the challenging balance between career and family life

Gjerberg E. Social Science & Medicine 2003; 57: 1327-41.
13. september 2003

Article in English.

Abstract on Pubmed:
In most Western countries, women doctors are still underrepresented in the higher positions in the medical hierarchy and in the most prestigious specialities. A crucial question is whether family responsibilities affect female and male career differently. The article examines how Norwegian physicians balance their work and family responsibilities and demonstrates differences in the way doctors combine work and family obligations, between women and compared with men. Among women doctors, the probability of becoming a specialist decreased with an increasing number of children. Moreover, postponing the birth of the first child increased the probability of completing hospital specialities. Although more women than men work part-time, this was the case only for a small proportion of women doctors. Transition from full-time to part-time work is primarily an accommodating strategy to family responsibilities, however strongly influenced by variations in the opportunity structure of different specialities. The findings further demonstrate that being married to another doctor had a positive impact on the career, especially for women doctors.