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ACOG Celebrates Women in Medicine Month and Pushes for Equity

For Women in Medicine Month 2021, ACOG recognizes how far women physicians have come while emphasizing the ongoing challenges to achieving full professional inclusion and equity and insisting on essential system-wide changes. In the Women in Medicine journal supplement published this month in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), ACOG members and colleagues from other specialties outline best practice strategies for recruiting, retaining, and advancing women physicians in the workplace.

A diverse health care workforce is essential to meeting the needs of a diverse population. Yet women physicians face persistent inequities in pay and promotion, an imbalance between work and home responsibilities, and higher rates of burnout than male peers. These challenges are amplified for women physicians who are Black, Indigenous, or people of color. Women physicians with children have likely been further disadvantaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, which amplifies the challenges that working mothers experience.

Achieving equity and inclusion requires intentional and strategic efforts across the field of medicine, including widespread institutional change. In the supplement, nine articles explore the challenges facing women in medicine and evidence-based ways to recruit and promote women into leadership and build inclusive work environments. Five articles are featured below.

In a collaborative call to action that wraps up the supplement, Maureen G. Phipps, MD, FACOG, chief executive officer of ACOG, along with her counterparts at AAP and other leading medical organizations, urges medical professionals to intentionally address the obstacles that prevent women physicians from reaching their full potential.

The supplement is authored by faculty and members of the Women’s Wellness through Equity and Leadership Program, with guest editors Susan Hingle, MD, MACP, FRCP, FAMWA; Erin Hayes Kelly, PhD; Florence Rivera, MPH; and V. Fan Tait, MD, FAAP.

Funded by the Physicians Foundation and led by the AAP, the initial WEL consortium included six medical associations: the AAP, American Academy of Family Physicians, ACOG, American College of Physicians, American Hospital Association, and American Psychiatric Association. The Women’s Wellness through Equity and Leadership Program is currently in its second iteration and has expanded to include the AMA, American Medical Women’s Association, National Hispanic Medical Association, and National Medical Association.