Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Too Many Women Doctors?

Another ill effect of afirmative action: Female Docs Work Far Less Hours, thus exacerbating a shortage of medical services

Because of commitments to family and other predilections, studies show that women doctors work far less hours than men, both here and in Great Britain. Predictions are that there's a looming, severe shortage of doctors in the next three years. I blame that on HMOs and other bad price-fixing forces that reduce the attraction for the best and brightest to go into medicine.

Businessweek says that with women dominating the medical field more and more (because of affirmative action and more support for female students than for males, far more women are now in college and medical school than men), this will make healthcare even harder to get, since they work less:

Finding a doctor could soon be even harder than paying for one. Various studies have projected a shortfall. . . . This looming shortage is forcing into the open a controversy that has been cautiously debated in hospitals and medical practices for some time: Are women doctors part of the problem? It's not the abilities of female doctors that are in question. It's that study after study has found women doctors tend to work 20% to 25% fewer hours than their male counterparts.

The British Medical Journal went public with the debate on Apr. 5 when it published a commentary by Dr. Brian McKinstry, a general practitioner at Scotland's University of Edinburgh, titled "Are There Too Many Female Medical Graduates? Yes." McKinstry argues that ". . . [W]e need to take a balanced approach to recruitment." . . .

Today women account for one-third of the physician workforce. In U.S. medical schools, they make up half the class. [DS: Actually, it's well more than half, as repeatedly documented by USA Today.]

But even those who disagree with McKinstry's position acknowledge that women doctors in the U.S. work less--47 hours per week on average, versus 53 for men. They also see about 10% fewer patients and tend to take more time off early in their careers. "It's pretty much an even bet that within a year or two of entering practice they will go on maternity leave," says Phillip Miller, a vice-president of the medical recruiting firm Merritt, Hawkins & Associates. "Then they are going to want more flexible hours."

Such demands tend to irritate older doctors. "The young women in our practice are always looking to get out of being on-call," says a male internist at a large New York-area medical group who asked not to be named. "The rest of us have to pick up the slack. That really stirs up a lot of resentment."
Another example of this disaster is the absurd story of Dr. Sophie Currier. All of this is a great-but-sad illustration of the failure of affirmative action. We gave a boost and pushed all the resources to women in a push to get them to go into medicine. And we ignored the men who wanted that career path. Now, as I noted above, women dominate medical school admissions and student bodies.

And since they work far less, we may have a healthcare crisis on our hands very shortly. Gender preferences at work.


Will tolerance of abortion decrease?

A comment from Britain

As a leftie, I had always been persuaded that abortion on demand is the right of every woman, with no arguments brooked. `Persuaded' is perhaps the wrong word; the rights of a woman to do whatever the hell she liked with her foetus was simply not something open to negotiation or debate with someone in possession of a penis, even if it was quite a small penis like mine. But a dark foreboding nonetheless gnawed away at me - much as, on a personal level, it gnawed away at many of the feminists who advanced this totalitarian no-surrender hypothesis. It is still, if you are on the feminist Left, an unchallengeable shibboleth, which is why the debate today is so fraught - the god-botherers on one side, the liberal Left on the other.

I may be wrong about this, but it strikes me that in a century or so, or maybe even less, we will be appalled that we allowed abortions at all. I do not mean that we should not allow them now; it is merely a suspicion that the advance of our knowledge about the life of a foetus, coupled with an improved ability to prevent conception, will mean that we will be mystified as to how such a primitive and brutal procedure could have become state-sanctioned and commonplace. I can see politicians in 2108 erecting monuments and offering apologies to the unborn dead - divorced from the reality of where we are now, and why. Apologising, in the manner of Tony Blair, with hindsight for crimes which were not considered crimes except by a furious and vengeful minority.

The scientific case - as opposed to the dubious religious case - against abortion seems to me as good as proven; or, at worst, pointing in the direction of being proven. Announcing the government's wish to stick by the 24-week limit which Britain currently has, the health minister Dawn Primarolo said: `No scientific evidence shows that the survival rates [of the foetus] have changed.'

You would guess that this is a politically expedient clutching at straws and carries with it the implication that they sort of expect the scientific evidence to change at some point in the future, that where we are now is a stop-gap, a temporary measure. It is only a matter of time - and not very much time, either, before the sentience of a foetus at 24 weeks becomes an established fact, beyond all dispute. And a little further on, 20 weeks, and then ten. There are plenty of scientists around - not all of them Roman Catholic - who will tell you that the foetus is a sort of sentient being which can experience pain as early as eight to nine weeks, when the major organs are all formed in an albeit rudimentary manner. The majority of neurobiologists seem to cleave to the view that between 20 and 24 weeks, with the establishment in the foetus of thalamocortical connections, the unborn child can certainly experience pain.

It is a deeply pessimistic outlook to define a human being merely by his or her ability to detect pain, of course. There is other stuff that makes us human. However, even by this baleful guideline, Eve Johnstone for the Medical Research Council reported in 2001 that it was `probable' that the human foetus was aware of pain at 24 weeks.


Sharia by stealth - Ontario turns a blind eye to polygamy

It's an issue the Liberal government of Ontario, led by Premier Dalton McGuinty, doesn't want to deal with - polygamy in the Muslim community. Last week the Toronto Star told the story of Safa Rigby, a 35-year-old mother of five children who recently learned her husband of 14 years had two other wives. Ms. Rigby's life is in tatters. She followed her husband's advice that she leave Toronto and live in Egypt for a year on the grounds that it would be better for their children to spend more time in a Muslim country. Now she knows it was a ruse. He used her time there to marry two other women.

Ms. Rigby does not support polygamy, which has been illegal in Canada for more than a century. But Toronto Imam Aly Hindy, who runs the Toronto Salahuddin Islamic Centre, does. He married Ms. Rigby's husband knowing he already had a wife and counselled him to keep the marriage secret from Ms. Rigby for as long as possible. Hindy has by his own admission performed 30 ceremonies in which men were married who already had wives. When Ms. Rigby confronted Hindy his response was reportedly cold and unsympathetic: "You will have to stand beside him in these difficult times," Hindy told her. "You should stop causing problems to (sic) him. You will not get anything by divorce except destroying your life" he went on to say.

For Hindy this is not about Ms. Rigby or her husband's desire to marry another woman - but making a broader political point. Hindy is using polygamy as a proxy for his fundamentalist version of Islam, something he wants to see legitimized in Canadian society as a whole. It is part of an attempt at empire building, a bid that if successful will enhance his influence within the Muslim community and demonstrate that Ontario and Canada is too ignorant and too afraid of Islam to uphold its own laws. He has admitted as much, challenging Ontario's government to dare stop him. "If the laws of the country conflict with Islamic law, if one goes against the other, then I am going to follow Islamic law, simple as that," he told the Star. Interviewed after the Star story appeared on the John Oakley Show on AM 640Toronto, Hindy was not apologetic and argued that freedom of religion in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms trumped prohibitions against polygamous marriages.

When he and another Imam from Toronto, Steve Rockwell, were challenged on the appropriateness of polygamy by a Muslim caller to the Oakley Show, the caller was immediately attacked and his identity as a true Muslim questioned because he did not follow Hindy's view that polygamy is a foundational pillar of Islam that grows out of Sharia Law. This speaks to a troubling absolutist interpretation of Islamic law, which runs against the reality that Sharia law is much more flexible that Hindy allows for, a fact well documented by Anver Emon, a specialist in Islamic law at the University of Toronto. Moreover, as noted in the Star article on Ms. Rigby, there is grave doubt that the Charter protects Islamic polygamy, as Hindy believes. Nik Bala, who teaches family law at Queen's University, points out that "Islam permits polygamy, but doesn't require it to be a practising Muslim." This is key, and may mean Hindy's attempt to find shelter behind the Charter will fail. Moreover, the impact polygamy has on women's equality and children could also sway the courts to uphold Canada's ban on polygamy.

But there is little chance at the moment that this will become a Charter issue down the road. Dalton McGuinty's government has responded to the revelations about polygamy in the Muslim community by denying its existence. On Wednesday Liberal MPP Ted McMeekin responded to a question on the issue in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario saying:

"Polygamy is a serious crime in Ontario . It's not something that's tolerated. As you know, the best advice I can give the honourable member opposite is that if she has any evidence that someone is engaging in multiple marriages, she should report it, because our Registrar General and our official reporting mechanisms have no evidence that that's happening. As you know, Mr. Speaker, marriage is a contract. A contract require a licence, and once a marriage occurs, it has to be registered. There are no multiple marriages being registered in the province of Ontario."

Mr. McMeekin's response is a shameful twisting of the law. The criminal code is clear. Section 293. (1) reads: "Every one who

(a) practises or enters into or in any manner agrees or consents to practise or enter into
(i) any form of polygamy, or
(ii) any kind of conjugal union with more than one person at the same time, whether or not it is by law recognized as a binding form of marriage, or
(b) celebrates, assists or is a party to a rite, ceremony, contract or consent that purports to sanction a relationship mentioned in subparagraph (a)(i) or (ii), is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years."

There is no provision in the law, contrary to Mr. McMeekin's assertion in the Ontario Legislature, that a polygamous marriage has to be registered before the government can act. The opposite is in fact true. By turning a blind eye to polygamy, Premier McGuinty is giving licence to Sharia by stealth.

In 2005 Ontario's premier rightly ruled out Sharia family courts, conceding that Muslim women may well fair poorly if such a system was allowed to be established. The same concern exists today, yet Ontario's Liberals sit on their hands.

Muslim women like Ms. Rigby are being victimized as are her children. Imam Hindy has told her to put up with her husband's desire for other wives. She has properly said no and has now obtained a divorce. When will Premier McGuinty's government say no and enforce the law it is bound to uphold?


Australian businessman angers feminists with 'virtual wife' ad

Are you humble enough to clean the boss's shoes, brush his cat and buy gifts for his family? You could be the "virtual wife" Cameron Clancy seeks. The 37-year-old sales consultant has placed an advertisement with an online job website in the hope of finding a woman with "excellent support abilities". Describing himself as a "busy, single professional", Mr Clancy says he wants help around the house so he can concentrate on building his business. His "virtual wife" would have a long list of chores, including ironing, shopping, making lunch and dinner, and preparing food menus for his cat. He expects all to be done in four to 16 hours a week.

Mr Clancy, of Forest Lake, in southwest Brisbane, said he had been unable to find a real wife. "I'm drowning in work and I need your help," he said in the advertisement. "I'm not looking for strictly a professional housekeeper and neither am I looking for strictly a personal assistant ... kind of a virtual wife. "So, you need to be humble enough to do my washing as well as savvy enough to make appointments with professional people."

His quest has angered feminists and academics, who say Mr Clancy's attitudes are ridiculously old fashioned. Dr Vivienne Muller, a gender expert at Queensland University of Technology, said she would be surprised if any women responded. "This man is way behind the times," she said. "He is hugely undervaluing women and has got the role of a modern wife completely wrong. "Many men do these household tasks for themselves today, and many women take an entrepreneurial role."

Domestic violence worker Chantal Eastwell, who is helping co-ordinate Brisbane's Feminist Conference, was shocked. "What angers me is that some men do think they have the right to control women in this way," she said. "It's terrible to have the attitude that women are subservient, and I hope no one wants to take this job."

But yesterday Mr Clancy, who says his ideal woman is actress Sandra Bullock, defended himself. He told The Sunday Mail 10 women had applied for the job, though he would not reveal the salary. "This could be the perfect job for someone," he said. "These are not actually tasks I expect a real wife to do, but using the term 'virtual wife' was the best way I could describe what I am after."



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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