CE41 - Inégalités, discriminations, migrations

Push and pull factors to the involvement of young female physicians in medical academic careers: global study and focus on gender issues – PULWAR

Submission summary

Observing a decline of interest in academic careers in medicine, both in France and internationally, this research focuses on the factors underlying career choices made by young physicians. We suspect that the decline in medical academia may be in part due to an insufficient recruitment of women that starts at the beginning of the training curriculum, and we hypothesize that the ideal mentoring/guidance/selection process of young female physicians may not be identical to the one ideal for young male physicians and that it is part of a complex and multifactorial set of individual and organizational factors.
The aims of this project are to assess, with a mixed methodology (quantitative survey, interviews, archival analysis and observation), the respective contribution of different factors involved in career choices. Among these variables, some of which are already identified in the literature as predictive (mentoring and role models, perceived discrimination), others are identified but controversial (attitude toward research, work-life balance), and others are present in the area of counselling psychology, but have not yet been invoked to report on choosing a career in academic medicine (congruence of values between an organization-the academic community- and the individual, learning experiences, and several variables of personality: anxiety, stress, intrapreunarial self-capital).
To provide a better understanding of the levers and barriers to engagement in academic careers in medicine, a first quantitative study is planned. This survey will be administered to the population of interns and fellows in France (N= 44,000) and will measure the variables invoked in the decision of a career choice in academic medicine and to articulate these variables within a global integrative model accounting for gender specific effect based on knowledge on the field of guidance psychology and educational sociology and inspired by Lent's theory.
These quantitative analyses will be followed by a qualitative study from a retrospective point of view. Forty in-depth semi-structured interviews will be conducted with several women and men who have successfully completed an academic career in the field of medicine. These interviews will attempt to retrace their perceived career (trajectories) to identify critical periods during which they encounter difficulties or supports. Analysing the development of professional identity in regard with positive and negative experiences during the training course and after can provide a better understanding of individual dynamic over time and confirm our conclusions from study 1.
The first two studies will provide elements on the influence of the proximal environment in individual decisions. However, beyond individual choices, we can also consider that the institution plays an active role in "designating" potential candidates for an academic career. The objective of the third study will be to analyse in a more specific way and by a mixed methodology (observation, archival analysis, interviews) the role of the institution in periods which could prove to be decisive during the curriculum: the choice to do or not a Master's degree and the process of becoming a fellow. Given serious consideration to the suggestion that individuals choose what they are chosen by, the aim is to highlight the institution’s role in framing personal and professional aspirations and producing a the range of possibilities.
Beyond the contribution of new scientific knowledge on this issue, our consortium makes changing this situation, so that women have easier access to academic positions, central to its work. This is facilitated by the structure of our consortium, which brings together experts in the humanities and social sciences (psychology and sociology) and physicians who will be able to play the role of brokers of this knowledge to institutions (medical schools and national organizations) and residents in medicine.

Project coordination


The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


CIMI - Sorbonne Université Centre d'Immunologie et de Maladies Infectieuses
INSERM UMR 1087/CNRS UMR 6291 L'unité de recherche de l'institut du thorax
CHU de Nantes Cliniques des données PHU 11 CHU de Nantes Cliniques des données PHU 11

Help of the ANR 327,040 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: February 2022 - 48 Months

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