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Int J Med Educ. 2017 May 11;8:165-169. doi: 10.5116/ijme.5907.0d44.

Views of Japanese medical students on the work-life balance of female physicians.

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Medical Education Center, Hyogo College of Medicine, Japan.
Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Hyogo College of Medicine, Japan.
General Affairs department, Hyogo College of Medicine, Japan.
Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Kidney and Dialysis, Hyogo College of Medicine, Japan.
Division of Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic disease, Department of Internal Medicine, Hyogo College of Medicine, Japan.



To survey medical students on their ideas of future work-life balance and discuss topics for next-generation medical education.


First-year (n=372, 34.9% female) and sixth-year medical students (n=311, 44.1% female) responded to a questionnaire on future self, marriage and childcare, and gender differences at the workplace. Responses were compared between academic years and gender. Responses were evaluated by gender and academic year using the Mann-Whitney U test.  Significance was set at p<0.01.


The first-year and sixth-year students, regardless of gender, had different views on gender-related favorable treatment at workplaces {U=13464, p=0.000 (first-year), U=10407, p=0.000 (sixth-year)}. A greater percentage of female students would choose career options based on the possibility of marriage and childbirth {U=10689, p=0.000 (first-year), U=10930, p=0.000 (sixth-year)}. Among first-year students, a greater percentage of female students expected to work part-time. Also among first-year students, greater percentages of female students expected to work part-time or leave their jobs temporarily while raising their children. Compared with first-year male students, first-year female students expected to undertake larger portions of the childcare and housework burden than their partners. However, gender differences in work-life balance and childcare leave vanished in the sixth-year students.


Female medical students accepted childcare and housework burdens as inevitable; the work environment they choose might affect their career development. While support from male partners and institutions must be increased, voluntary actions and change in mentality of female students need to be promoted through medical education to prevent them from waiting passively for the situation to change.


diversity; gender equality; japan; medical students; work-life balance

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