Keshet, Yael, Ariela Popper-Giveon, and Ido Liberman. “Intersectionality and Underrepresentation among Health Care Workforce: The Case of Arab Physicians in Israel.” Israel Journal of Health Policy Research 4.18 (2015): 13pp.
An intersectionality approach that addresses the non-additive influences of social categories and power structures, such as gender and ethnicity, is used as a research paradigm to further understanding the complexity of health inequities. While most researchers adopt an intersectionality approach to study patients’ health status, in this article we exemplify its usefulness and importance for studying underrepresentation in the health care workforce. Our research objectives were to examine gender patterns of underrepresentation in the medical profession among the Arab minority in Israel.
We used both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. The quantitative data were obtained from the 2011 Labor Force Survey conducted by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, which encompassed some 24,000 households. The qualitative data were obtained through ten semi-structured, in-depth interviews conducted during 2013 with Arab physicians and with six nurses working in Israeli hospitals.
The findings indicate that with respect to physicians, the Arab minority in Israel is underrepresented in the medical field, and that this is due to Arab women’s underrepresentation. Arab women’s employment and educational patterns impact their underrepresentation in medicine. Women are expected to enter traditional gender roles and conform to patriarchal and collectivist values, which makes it difficult for them to study medicine.
Using an intersectionality approach to study underrepresentation in medicine provides a foundation for action aimed at improving public health and reducing health disparities.