Many residency programs (and private practice groups) now preferentially recruit females OB/GYNs. Male students routinely report being strongly discouraged from applying. A Gallup poll in May of 2001 indicated that 53% of women 18-29 would prefer to see a female OBGYN. Of the same age group, 15% preferred male physicians and 32% said that physician gender was not an issue. Interesting, only a third of women 55+ preferred a female physician. I should not dare to venture a theory as to why, as women become older and presumably wiser, they are less likely to prefer a female physician. None-the-less, it may be that these women became comfortable with male physician stereotypes years ago and don't want to change. Also (Oh God, I'll catch it for this...) male physicians also tend to have expanded office hours and work more days per week IN PRIVATE PRACTICE compared to women IN PRIVATE PRACTICE. Women tend to have interests outside of their occupation whereas men tend to live and breath their jobs. I certainly do not believe that older patients think male doctors are better than female doctors. (OK, some might. Some stereotypes are deeply held.) I prefer to believe that they simply became accustomed to male physicans over the years. Accepting that, it might be presumed that the 53% of women 18-29 who prefer females physicians now might carry their preference into their later years. Under that assumption, it might be expected that 47% of women will continue to have no preference. I have heard the argument that one must be female in order to understand the mind/body issues therein. On the other hand, we know that good heart surgeons are not required to have coronary occlusions to excel in their practice. Most superb pediatricians who understand children and work miracles with them are usually more than 16 years old. "But, this is different", some women say. Well then, if it is different, should we discourage female physicians from applying to urology programs? Should women not examine or operate on men? Absurd. Can you imagine the upheaval if a male patient on the wards refused to be treated except by male doctors, nurses, students and technicians. However, it is centrally important that 47% of women perceive it to be different, a more complex situation, and that's what matters. Perception is reality. In any case, preferential recruitment of females and forms of discrimination against males will likely continue in academic and private OB/GYN until the pendulum swings toward a moderate position. I'm interested in your opinions and experiences. Where's the pendulum at your school or hospital? PS. Five people matched from our 4th year class at UT Southwestern into the OB/GYN program here - all of them female. Two males matched into distant programs. The residency program here is about 75/25 female to male. In their defense, I understand that the applicant pool is even more one sided.