Gender Inequality in Medical Assisting
Similarly, in a court case of EEOC v. LA Weight Loss in December 2008, EEOC alleged that a chain of weight
loss counseling centers with facilities in 21 states had a company wide policy of refusing to hire men into the
positions of medical assistant and various management positions. A review of their applicant flow and census
data showed that men were not hired and employees were told by managers that they were not interested in
hiring men because they believed that their customers and clients responded better to female staff.
"So, what's going on?" What keeps the number of men in the medical assistant field so low? Men who go
into medical assisting will quickly learn that social pressure isn't the only challenge their career choice might
bring. It might be the lack of employer's awareness and acceptance of men in this field and the notion that men
who display caring attitudes toward sick and elderly people aren't real men, like firefighters and police. Men
often have a hard time finding other men who are willing to talk about working in care giving roles. The situation
is perpetuated by highly feminized images and pictures in the media and in magazines showing almost always
women in nursing scrubs and health care jobs.
Could It Be Deep Rooted Misconceptions? The persistence of misconceptions and cultural bias plays a big
role. Not only employers have certain misconceptions about what a medical assistant should look like and men
in scrubs, but also educators.
Could It Be Stereotypical and Sexist? Another reason why few men are found working in medical offices are
false ideas about the role and function of men in a medical office. Employers believe that nursing and medical
procedures best belong into the hands of a woman.
Could It Be The Way Doctors Hire? Each employer begins the selection of possible candidates with a well-
established system of beliefs about what a medical assistant should look like. During the pre-employment
interview it is the interviewer's deep rooted stereotypical misconceptions and concerns about the stigma of a
man's suitability for the medical office environment which is hindering the male applicant's efforts when
applying. And when you have a male health care provider heading a medical office the picture of a friendly
smiling female welcoming patients is what they envision (sexism). Even most female health care providers
running a medical office see it this way.
Could It Be Unequal Pay? Wages play another important role when jobs are being sought. Pay inequity may
easily be another contributing factor for men shying away from the medical assisting career. Traditionally men
are the main breadwinner of the family and so they need jobs that pay well. However, employers rarely pay
more than what they must, and do not always offer additional benefits. Relatively low hourly wages for medical
assistants and lack of benefits such as health insurance, paid vacation, sick days, and group retirement plans
are not attracting men in those positions.
Male Medical Assistants
Study after study demonstrates that misconceptions and prejudices about men working in an assisting role in
the medical office still exist. The initial study held in June 2003 revealed that male medical assistant students
made up less than 10 percent in vocational training programs. Despite of an expressed interest in this career
men have been discouraged and frequently denied access to medical assisting training and positions on the