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Doctors who are mothers face ‘insidious, persistent’ discrimination, study finds

December 13, 2018 / Joanne Finnegan

It’s not always easy being a mom. Try being a mother and a physician. A new study, published in the BMJ, finds “insidious, persistent and sometimes blatant” discrimination experienced by physicians based specifically on their status as mothers. That conclusion was drawn from an analysis of 947 responses to an online survey of female doctors who are part of the Physicians Moms Facebook group. In their own words, the survey participants provided vivid descriptions of maternal discrimination. How so? The team of U.S. researchers found several themes. The physicians reported varying expectations of job performance (both higher and lower), financial inequities (including lower pay than equally qualified colleagues and more unpaid work), fewer opportunities for career advancement, lack of support during pregnancy and after giving birth and difficulties achieving life-work balance.