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Original Research

Women in the rural medical academic workforce

Submitted: 31 July 2012
Revised: 19 January 2013
Accepted: 13 March 2013
Published: 14 August 2013

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Author(s) : Playford DE, Worthington R, Riley G.

Citation: Playford DE, Worthington R, Riley G.  Women in the rural medical academic workforce. Rural and Remote Health (Internet) 2013; 13: 2309. Available: (Accessed 18 October 2017)


Introduction:  This study assessed the role of women as fractional full-time equivalent (FTE) rural academics in the context of significant workforce shortage and increasing academic demand.
Methods:  The design was a cross-sectional cohort study conducted from June 2002 to June 2012. All Rural Clinical School teaching sites in Western Australia were included, numbering from 3 (at inception in 2002) to 13 in 2012. Participants were all clinicians employed as academic staff of The University of Western Australia since its inception. Teaching staff employed elsewhere were not included. Main outcome measures were the proportion of women employed in the Rural Clinical School and work characteristics including appointment fraction, duration and site leadership.
Results:  Relative to the workforce at large, female academics were disproportionately employed in the Rural Clinical School with a relative risk of 1.28 (CI 1.0-1.64), χ˛=2.0 p=0.46. Their likelihood of being Australian trained was 1.62 (CI 1.3-2.0), χ˛=19.3, p=0.000 relative to the rural female GP workforce. Their FTE (t=1.0 p=0.295), time of tenure (t=1.19, p=0.24) and site leadership was indistinguishable from male Rural Clinical School academics.
Conclusion:  Female doctors who are willing to take on part-time work are supporting the rural medical teaching workforce.

Key words: female doctors, rural academic, rural clinical school, rural medical workforce, women doctors.

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