Male and female emirati medical clerks’ perceptions of the impact of gender and mobility on their professional careers

Michelle McLean, Susan B. Higgins-Opitz

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Background: Medicine has undergone profound changes in terms of the number of
women entering the profession with postulated implications of this ‘feminization’ for the profession.
The present phenomenological study sought to gain insight into the experiences of final year male and
female Emirati medical students (clerks) in terms of the impact of gender on their careers. Methods:
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 24 of the 27 clerks. Interviews were transcribed
and analyzed thematically. Findings: There was consensus that the gender profile of medicine in the
United Arab Emirates was changing as opportunities emerged for Emirati women to branch into
different medical specialties. These opportunities were, however, local or regional due largely to
travel restrictions on women. Females would thus receive a less highly regarded board certification
than males who were encouraged to specialize abroad. On their return, males would be appointed as
consultants or as high-ranking administrators. Participants also acknowledged that like their roles
in their society, some medical specialties were ‘gendered’, e.g., surgery (male) and pediatrics and
obstetrics and gynecology (female). Conclusion: Although religious and cultural traditions around
gender and mobility will influence the professional careers of male and female Emirati medical
graduates, the situation is, however, changing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
JournalSocial Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 9 Sep 2017


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