Tokyo Medical school biased entrance exam results against women

Guardian story here.


And how the blazes did they get away with it for so long?

I’m glad they’ve put a stop to this.

Particularly dumb given recent(-ish) research on the performance of male and female doctors

Correlation is not causation, of course. But a career in medicine should appeal to women as it is one particularly well-suited to career breaks or periods of light work. The sister of my sister-in-law is a doctor and I’ve heard her expound this at length.

Nothing in that story indicates that they have actually “put a stop to this”.

After denying it completely for months, now the heads of the school are just denying that they personally were involved.

They claim that they will prevent this in the future (with no specific details of how), and that they will 'consider ’ retroactively admitting the women they excluded before. As if women who sought admission to medical school 12 years ago haven’t moved on! And no mention at all of paying recompense to these women they cheated. I hope they get together and hire a good lawyer, and sue the hell out of the school.

I remember reading years ago that Pakistan medical schools had the same complaint: women trading in their M.D. for an M.R.S. and “wasting” a medical education.

This makes absolutely no sense to me. Unless you are a hospitalist, an ER doctor or another specialist who doesn’t have your own patients, a medical career is particularly ill-suited for taking time off. Even if you are employed by a larger group and have coverage available, you risk losing patient loyalty if you take too much time. If you are in a private practice, things are worse.

As a primary care physician, every day of vacation I take off has to be weighed against the fact that I’m still paying all of my overhead but not earning any money. In addition, I have to arrange coverage for my patients. Go away too long and the patients just might change to the covering physician, because nobody wants a doctor who is not going to be there when you need them. You can hire a locum to see patients in your absence and keep your practice alive but what they bring in may only just cover your expenses if you’re lucky. Try to work part-time and again, the revenues won’t cover your expenses, many of which are fixed.

If you want to take a “career break” (which I would assume is something like a several months long maternity leave), you may have to shut down your practice and start again from scratch. Patients can’t just wait around and not need care while you decide to take a prolonged break. Again, even if you have coverage, the practice doesn’t run itself. You still have to be checking in constantly to keep an eye on the billing and the revenues, make sure all the bills are paid and all the little fires that come with running a business are put out in a timely fashion. Starting from scratch isn’t easy. It can take a few years to get a practice up and running. Yes, from my vantage point, this is a very inflexible career path.

Grrrrrr. I could write all day about this sort of stuff that happens in Japan and how working women are consistently given the short straw, as well as the embarrassingly poor state of daycare which forces many women to quit.

Pretty much all the issues you list aren’t issues in the UK. Your patients become patients of other doctors in the practice, there’s maternity leave, and so on. Okay, for a career break you get the income drop, but when you want to return to work, you’re still a doctor, and you can likely return to the same practice. And it’s nothing to do with socialised healthcare: my grandmother was a doctor (and surgeon during WW1) and she graduated in the 19th century and practiced until after WW2.

So, does Japan have anything similar to Title IX in the United States?

Are there laws prohibiting sex discrimination in education? Are they enforced?

Actually, I have a cousin who is a doctor, and her husband, who is a musician, is the one who stayed home with the children when they were babies. She took a few weeks to recover from giving birth, and she managed to breastfeed, by pumping, and having him bottle-feed breastmilk during the days she had to go in. She is an orthopod in a practice with three other doctors, so she arranged coverage when she had to be out, just like she arranged coverage when another woman had her children, one of the doctors had to be with his dying father, and another doctor had to be out to have some kind of surgery that required several weeks off, and soforth.

When her husband needed to go back to work after the first baby (he is a musician, so he had flexibility, and mostly worked evenings to begin with, but he still had to work eventually*), they hired someone; they hired her brother and SIL, who are public school teachers, and the timing happened to be right for them to take one of the children over the summer, then the child was old enough for daycare. It was sheer luck the timing was right. The second time, her husband was able to watch the child until he was ready for daycare. But their children were in daycare from shortly after their first birthdays.

It was a really good daycare, run out of the synagogue-- it progressed into a preschool, and then had a kindergarten, so they stayed there until they were ready for the first grade, where they did really well; it’s hard to argue with success, but still, that’s a lot of time in daycare.

She’s a very good doctor from what I understand. I mean, I’ve never been her patient, but her rating by professional organizations is about as high as it can be, and her Yelp and Google ratings are 5s.

The kids are in high school and college now, and doing extremely well. One wants to be a medical researcher; one wants to be a writer.
*He’ not a rock star, but he makes a living as a musician without needing a second job. He plays weddings, bar mitvahs, etc. teaches music at the synagogue religious school, does music workshops at Jewish camps. He’s in a klezmer band, and a jazz band. His professional instrument is sax, but he also plays piano.

I found the Pakistan article I referred to earlier (where 70% of medical students were female, but only 23% of practising doctors):

All this does is give me yet another glimpse of the weird world that is US healthcare.

In the UK, where Quartz’s sister-in-law’s sister presumably practices, GP practices, whilst being privately owned (but NHS funded), are almost always group practices, with most of the doctors being employed by the practice. So taking a career break here is not different than in any other employed position. Plus there is always work for locums.

What’s more, patients don’t tend to ‘shop around’ for GPs. We do have a choice of practices on the NHS, but most of us would just go for the nearest one, or one with good ratings, rather than because a particular doctor owned it. And once we’re registered with a practice, we only tend to move if we move house. A doctor going on maternity leave wouldn’t affect it.

The existence of laws in Japan is meaningless unless there is political will, and that means public support, to enforce them. The current and longstanding zeitgeist is that women occupy a lower rank than men. No one seriously disputes it and it is why the Tokyo governor can call old women whose kids have grown up simple wastes of space and resources.

Oh yeah, and suing people just isn’t worth it. Damages are so low that they are no incentive to change behavior.

But who owns the practice? psychobunny is just describing the experience of anyone who actively owns part or all of a small business, as opposed to being an employee. I’d be surprised if the experience of a business owner in the UK is much different.