Bangalore: The interest to pursue medicine among women in India is quantitatively declining with the increasing number of women applying for higher education. The recent University Grants Commission (UGC) Report claims that just 4.68 percent of women have applied for medicine in 2010-2011 out of 41.5 percent women who applied for college education. Even then the UGC report shows a positive trend in the number of women seeking higher education which has increased significantly since independence.
Across the country the number of women applicants enrolling for higher education varies, Goa shows the highest percentage at 61.2, Kerala follows with 56.8 percent and then comes Andaman and Nicobar with 52 percent. Karnataka has 42.9 percent women applying for higher education.
The majority of these applicants took Arts for higher education which makes 41.21 percent on the list of various education sectors. Science was preferred by 19.14 percent, Commerce and Management received 16.12 percent applicants. Engineering and technology got 11.36 percent women applicants. Then there is agriculture, veterinary science, law which received 1 percent or less than 1 percent applicants.
Women preferred other streams for higher education than medicine due to the difficulties related in the medical field, not in terms of the subject but in terms of the time and energy it consumes to complete the course. Most of them find the duration of the course too lengthy, some even drop out before completing the course. Whoever finishes MBBS plans to go for post graduation which adds more years to study. The least amount of time taken by doctors to settle into the profession is estimated to be 10 years. Then there is one year of service in rural parts of the country which adds to the exhaustion in the dream of becoming a doctor. All this has created depreciation in the number of women applying for the course as told to TOI by Dr Chikkananjappa, President and Karnataka Medical Council.
Adding to the woes is the insufficient salary that is paid to the doctors when posted to the rural regions. The salaries paid has not only despaired the women but has caused serious concerns among the men who feel the hurt of the career decisions they have made. With the declining rate of women applying for medicine there is an ongoing concern with the established system of medicine and its practice.
After the first women Anandi Gopal Joshi, pioneered the field of medicine in 1886, women never stopped themselves from acquiring their position in it. It seemed more like a challenging field to be conquered. And once a male dominated field has become a playground for women too, who take equal responsibility and give their best care and support to their patients.
Will this situation decrease the number of doctors in the country is hard to say. However the need and the value of a doctor can never diminish in the world. As said by Hippocrates, an ancient Greek physician “Wherever the art of Medicine is loved, there is also a love of Humanity.” Medicine and humanity has been close relatives through which medicine prospered but for this alone isn’t enough to inspire the young aspiring doctors, a change is required in the system to make it aspiring once again.