Women in the Medical Field in India: A Developing Economy – A Dichotomous Picture

Women in the Medical Field in India: A Developing Economy – A Dichotomous Picture

Monica Sivakumar (Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals, India)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 7
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9599-1.ch016
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There is a vast difference in the status of women in the medical field in India as compared to the West. However, much progress has been made in the past two decades at least in the urban areas. There is a tremendous disparity in the rural and urban areas when it comes to the number of women who enter this field. The urban areas are almost on par with the western standards at present. Despite having so many women who are leaders in the field, the situation in rural India remains desolate. Many hopes are dashed and much talent is wasted as societal interference, early marriages, and poor socio-economic status make it extremely difficult for the women in the semi-urban and rural areas to enter this lengthy and endurance-testing field. The patriarchal nature of the society, ancient customs, and inability to adapt to modern times are some of the common reasons that so few women enter this field.
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The Statistics

For every 1000 males, there are 943 females in India. However, the gender ratio is not uniform in all the 28 states. States like Kerala and Tamil Nadu have a near 50:50 gender ratio whereas states like Haryana and Jharkhand have the lowest sex ratio averaging around 700 females for every 1000 males. Female infanticide and child marriage are still an on-going practice in many parts of these states. The gender ratio is an indicator of the attitude that the people have towards the female sex and is directly proportional to the higher educational standards of girls in the respective states.

More relevant to this chapter, the average female literacy in the world is currently around 79.7 percent. Per the census 2011 report, the average female literacy in India is 65.46 percent (Chandramouli & General, 2011). These numbers obviously speak for itself. The rates of school dropouts amongst the adolescent females in India, particularly in the rural areas is staggering indeed. The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights reports that 39.4% of the girls aged 15-18 dropout of schools and colleges (Singh, 2018). Meanwhile, the percentage of boys not attending any educational institution in the same age group is 35 per cent quoted by the same study. According to an article By Nisha Bala written in 2014, the top three reasons for high dropout rates are expectations of domesticity, safety and infrastructure barriers (Bala, 2014).

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