Feminisation of medical profession is a global observation which was debated upon considerably. Many indicators of health and development in Kerala are favourable to women. However the extent of feminisation of medical profession in Kerala was not subjected to scientific scrutiny. A Study was conducted to find the extent of female representation in the medical colleges of Kerala and its trend in past decade.
Details of applicants and selected students were gathered from the data base of Commissioner of entrance examinations. The sex ratio of applicants and selected were presented in the back ground of relevant National and State figures.
Sex ratio of applicants and selected students increased between 2002 and 2011. In 2009, the sex ratio of selected students increased over that of applicants.
Women representation among Kerala Medical students is well above the sex ratio of general population in India and Kerala. Increasing feminisation of Medical Profession is to be expected and a rethinking in workforce planning is needed to address the related issues.
Current trends indicate that world over the sex representation in medical profession is getting equalised. Entrants to medical school showed a gender balance by 2003 in USA1 and soon in UK too.2 Almost half of medical students presently in Korea are females and they will form a majority in near future.3 Women's advancement in higher education is thought to be the underlying factor in increasing number of female medical students.3 An average of 60% of student intake across North America, Europe, Australia and Russia are women. They are in the majority in terms of entry to medical schools worldwide and will soon represent the majority of working doctors, ‘feminising’ the medical profession.4
Kerala is known for attaining high Physical Qualities of Life Index. Demographic profile favourable to women and high female literacy rate are other indicators unique for Kerala, distinct from National figures. In this context increasing female representation in the medical profession in Kerala is an expected possibility. Teachers in Medical colleges are aware about more number of female students getting admitted to MBBS courses recently, but the matter was not subjected to scientific scrutiny yet.
This research was aimed to find the extent of female representation among the students admitted to the medical colleges in Kerala, its trend in past decade and to discuss the possible impact of that phenomenon on the health care delivery in future.
Materials and methods
From the data base available with the Commissioner of entrance examinations, total number of applicants and selected students were gathered with their gender details. The number of males and females among the applicants and the selected students were tabulated year wise. From the available data, sex ratio of applicants and selected were calculated as number of females against 1000 males.
In the back ground of sex ratio of male and female at National and State level, the sex ratio of applicants and selected were presented.
Percentage of male and female applicants successful in getting admission to medical colleges from 2002 to 2011 also is presented.
The number of male and female applicants and the selected applicants with their sex ratio are given in the table 1.
Sex ratio of applicants increased from 1486.17 in 2002 to 1836.57 in 2011. The increase was steady except a slight fall in 2004 and a sharp fall in 2005. The sex ratio of selected increased from 1420.06 in 2000 to 2214.44 in 2011. The ratio dropped to 1133.14 in 2001 and steadily increased till a sharp fall in 2004 which remained in 2005 also. The ratio steadily improved since then. In 2009, the sex ratio of selected students increased over the sex ratio of applicants and the trend of upward progression further continued sharply.
The sex ratio of applicants and selected students from the year 2000 to 2011 is presented in figure 1 with the sex ratio of National and State as the background. While the National figures for sex ratio consistently remained below the equal number of 1000, the Kerala figures stayed above it consistently. The sex ratio of applicants always remained at a noticeably higher level, with an upward rise from 2005 onwards. The sex ratio of selected students was just above the State figures in 2001. It fell below the National population figures in 2004.But the ratio steadily rose since then and sharply increased from 2007. In 2009, the sex ratio of selected students crossed the sex ratio of applicants and continued to show a tendency for sharp rise
Table 1. Number of male and female applicants and selected students with gender ratio arranged year wise