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Pakistan Has More Female Medical Students Than Practicing Female Doctors

Pakistan Has More Female Medical Students Than Practicing Female Doctors

How many of Pakistan's female medical students go on to become doctors?

Not many, says a recent BBC report.

Although 70 percent of the students enrolled at medical schools in Pakistan are women, only 23 percent of the nation's doctors are women, according to the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council.

The reason for a decline in professional participation? Marriage, says Dr. Javed Akram.

"It's much easier for girls to get married once they are doctors and many girls don't really attend to work as professional doctors," he told the BBC. "I know of hundreds of hundreds of female students who have qualified as a doctor or a dentist but they have never touched a patient."

Apparently, having a wife as a doctor — a term coined as 'doctor wives' — is a bonus in many social gatherings and settings, Akram explained. 

When asked his opinion on the matter, one male student attributed the trend to a difference in social behaviors, speaking to existing (and evidently, limiting) gender norms seen in similar countries.

"Boys go out, hang out with their friends," he says. "Girls can't go out as much, so they stay at home."

Another female student also responded in accordance with the male student's comments stating, "Family. In our culture, family always comes first."

A solution to the nation's shortage of female doctors? Some have suggested a 50/50 quota on male-to-female admissions at medical schools.

Read the details of the report and story here

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Photo Credit: Alejandro Rivera via Getty Images