Encyclopedia of E-Health and TelemedicineThe Role of Gender in Technology Acceptance for Medical Education

Publication TypeBook Chapter
Año de publicación2016
AuthorsBriz-Ponce, L, Juanes-Méndez, JA, García-Peñalvo, FJ
EditorCruz-Cunha, MM, Miranda, IM, Martinho, R, Rijo, R
Título de LibroEncyclopedia of E-Health and Telemedicine
CapítuloThe Role of Gender in Technology Acceptance for Medical Education
Páginas1013 - 1027
PublisherIGI Global

The history of women in Medicine dates to 3500 before common era (BCE). During a lot of years, women were actively discouraged from the practice of surgery (Wirtzfeld, 2009). Regulations for the practice of surgery were widely recognized and often barred women. For example, in 1313, women were not allowed to practice of surgery in Paris unless examined by a competent jury (Lipinska, 1930). However, women continued to practice without formal training or recognition for the next several centuries (Wirtzfeld, 2009).

A lot of years after that, woman started to rebel and wanted to have a formal training and have the opportunity for studying medicine. In 1847, Harriet Hunt was the first woman to apply to Harvard Medical School and her request was rejected (“A profile and history of Women in Medicine”, 2013).

However, Elizabeth Blackwell was the first women in America to receive her medical degree (1849). She decided to be a doctor when a close friend who was dying suggested she would have been spared her worst suffering if her physician had been a woman (“Changing the Face of Medicine | Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell”, n.d.) . She applied to several Schools of Medicine but all of them rejected her request. There was a medical school, Geneva Medical College that decided not assume the sole responsibility for denying the request, so to justify their own decision, they asked the students thinking they would reject the proposal. On the contrary, the students themselves voted “yes”, so Elizabeth was accepted to study medicine (Morantz-Sanchez, 2000). There were other women that were considered the first woman in their countries as Emily Jennings Stowe in Canada (Hacker, 1984) who graduated in 1867 or Dr. Aleu, the first Spanish woman who became a doctor in 1882 (López, 2007). In all those cases, it took them a great effort to become a physician and they were harshly criticized by the society. However, they achieved their goals and it was the beginning of a new hope for women.

Until 1970, women still were underrepresented considerably in the medical profession. Just fewer than 8% of US physicians were female. (A profile and history of Women in Medicine, 2013). However, this proportion was increasing steadily for the upcoming years as it is shown in Figure 1. This chart shows the percentage of female physicians since 1980 until 2013 for each country and it reveals that there has been a marked increase of the percentage each year reaching almost 50% in most part of the cases.