Home Institution

Rice University

Publication Date

Fall 2013

Program Name

Argentina: Public Health in Urban Environments


Background: In the context of feminization of pediatrics that is occurring rapidly worldwide, this investigation seeks to determine the underlying causes of the phenomenon in Argentina. It focuses on the field of pediatrics because pediatrics is one of the most feminized medical specialties. Through this narrowed focus, the investigation intends to suggest causes for the feminization occurring in all of medicine. It studies the pediatricians of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires in order to illuminate the social, logistical, and personal motivations that attracted them to pediatrics. It is very important to discover these motivations and causes because they reflect the recent changes in the nature and practice of medicine. Moreover, it is necessary to understand the feminization of medicine in order to develop health policies that complement the phenomenon and support the general wellbeing. Methodology: The investigation is based on a series of interviews conducted with pediatricians practicing in the CABA. They represent a wide sample of socio-demographic factors and they bring unique experiences and opinions to the study. Each one answered the same set of questions, but they were free to respond with as much detail as they felt necessary, and could stray from the questionnaire if they so desired. An analysis of the commonalities and differences in their responses yields the conclusions presented here. The investigation also employs a diverse supplemental bibliography in order to give context to the interviews. Results: The causes of the feminization of pediatrics are multifaceted and complex. They are influenced by social norms, the current state of the healthcare system, and the nature of the career path. Specifically, this investigation finds the causes to be the humanistic vocation tied to pediatrics, the existing gender stigmas in medicine, the length of the professional formation, a woman's role in the raising of children, and the low remuneration of pediatricians. Some of the factors encourage women to specialize in pediatrics, while others dissuade men from the specialty. Also, several of the causes are neither perceived nor recognized by the pediatricians themselves. Instead they promote feminization on a less conscious level.


Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Health Services Research | Pediatrics | Public Health


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