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Male OB-GYNs: A Different Look at Diversity

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When people talk about diversity and inclusion, the implicit assumption is typically that they are talking about the inclusion of traditionally marginalized groups, like women and minorities. But inclusion means including everyone, even groups that have traditionally enjoyed a privileged position in the workplace. The benefits of diversity and inclusion derive from a number of factors, including the incorporation of a wide range of perspectives and experiences and the ability to connect with an increasingly diverse national and global marketplace.

So how do these factors come into play when dealing with a necessarily all-female market—those giving birth? NPR’s Morning Edition recently carried a story by Alex Olgin titled, “Male OB-GYNs Are Rare, But Is That A Problem?” Olgin reports that, “82 percent of doctors matching into OB-GYN residency programs are women.”

It’s important to note that, due to historical underrepresentation of women as physicians, generally, there is still a disproportionate number of men in other high-level OB-GYN roles, such as medical professors and physicians in management roles.

It’s understandable that female patients would prefer female OB-GYNs given the nature of the procedures these physicians perform. But survey results published by Research Gate found that two thirds of respondents had no gender bias when selecting an OB-GYN, and just over 80 percent said they didn’t think physician gender impacted quality of care.

Related: A Pendulum Swing for the #MeToo Movement?

One of the primary benefits of diversity and inclusion in business settings is the ability to deeply understand the markets served. In this case—one that is certainly a very unique situation—the customers are patients, and they are all women.

It’s an interesting twist on a concept we frequently address when working with clients—key employee demographics required for growth. The idea being that it’s important to have representation among staff and, particularly in leadership roles, when serving specific audiences. In this case, the predominance of women in OB-GYN roles may be just what the doctor ordered.

Still, some women may prefer the option to have a male OB-GYN, and many female practitioners say they also value the ability to work with a diverse group of colleagues. The big takeaway, as always: Be inclusive!

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