The feminization of medicine in Latin America: ‘More-the-merrier’ will not beget gender equity or strengthen health systems
This viewpoint addresses the lack of gender diversity in medical leadership in Latin America and the gap in evidence on gender dimensions of the health workforce. While Latin America has experienced a dramatic change in the gender demographic of the medical field, the health sector employment pipeline is rife with entrenched and systemic gender inequities that continue to perpetuate a devaluation of women; ultimately resulting in an under-representation of women in medical leadership. Using data available in the public domain, we describe and critique the trajectory of women in medicine and characterize the magnitude of gender inequity in health system leadership over time and across the region, drawing on historical data from Mexico as an illustrative case. We propose recommendations that stand to disrupt the status quo to more appropriately value women and their representation at the highest levels of decision making for health. We call for adequate measurement of equity in medical leadership as a matter of national, regional, and global priority and propose the establishment of a regional observatory to monitor and evaluate meaningful progress towards gender parity in the health sector as well as in medical leadership.