Occupational sex segregation is a persistent feature of the organization of work and contributes to gender inequalities in pay, status, and power. For physicians, intraoccupational sex segregation by medical specialty remains entrenched despite the rapid influx of women into medicine. Women physicians tend to be overrepresented in primary care specialties and underrepresented in surgery and surgical sub-specialties. Explanations range from those focused on women's gendered choices to those emphasizing structural and external barriers. Equalizing women's status in medicine necessitates parity within medical specialties and more equity across specialties in terms of pay and prestige.

Medical specialization emerged in most Western countries in the 19th century as the separate fields of medicine and surgery began to merge. With the rise of other medical specialties in the middle ...

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