The field of obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN) is facing growing competition for young professionals in Germany, with high interest rates among female graduates and a declining proportion of male students who choose residency training in the field. The aim of this study is to analyze general and gender-dependent factors that influence the decision for or against specialty training in OB/GYN among medical students in Germany.
Between February and November 2019, n = 346 medical students in their 5th and 6th year of undergraduate training at Heidelberg University received a questionnaire with 44 items.
n = 286 students (61.3 female; 38.7% male) participated in the study. 28% of the female students and 9% of the male students had considered OB/GYN for their specialty training. The students reported different general and gender-specific influencing factors in their choice of a specialty. Both genders desired a good work-life-balance, however, in comparison with their female colleagues, male students had heavily weighted factors related to their later careers and professional success, including competition among colleagues. Male students had gained little practical experience during compulsory internships (26.9% for females vs. 8.8% for males) or had chosen their final-year elective in OB/GYN (15.9% for females vs. 5.5% for males). Female students had worried about the negative effects of their sex on their career (35.4% for females vs. 5.9% for males).
OB/GYN must become more appealing and attractive to young female and male professionals alike. A better compatibility of career and family should go hand in hand with the implementation of differentiated, (extra) curricular teaching approaches that take the different preferences of female and male students into account.

© 2021. The Author(s).