Citizenship tasks tax women physicians

Women physicians feel pressured to spend more time in work-related citizenship tasks, based largely on their age and race. Nearly half of women perceived that they spent more time on citizenship tasks than their male colleagues, according to a study in Journal of Women’s Health.

“When compared to their younger counterpart, women physicians older than 49 years stated to feel obligated to volunteer for these tasks because of their age,” state Priscila Armijo, MD, University of Nebraska Medical Center, and coauthors. “We also found that a higher proportion of women of color physicians perceived race as a factor in feeling obligated to volunteer for work-related citizenship tasks, when compared to white women physicians.”

In the accompanying editorial entitled, “Abolish the Minority Woman Tax!” José Rodríguez, MD, University of Utah Health, Family and Preventive Medicine, and coauthors write: “The specific obstacles faced by underrepresented minority (URM) faculty in academic medicine are best described as a system of disparities or taxes. URM faculty take on additional work, including diversity efforts land clinical responsibilities, while experiencing the challenges of racism, isolation, disparate compensation, and a lack of mentorship. This minority women tax is an additional injustice that must be named, acknowledged, and eliminated.”