The immigration of more than 13,000 physicians,over half of whom were women, from the former SovietUnion to Israel during the first half of the 1990's,provided an opportunity to investigate genderdifferences in the occupational integration of a largegroup of professionals. The present paper presentsfindings from a three-stage cohort study of 333 formerSoviet physicians covering their first five years in Israel, and from in-depth interviews withtwenty-three immigrant physicians. After two andone-half years in Israel (Stage 2), male respondentswere more likely to be working in their profession thanfemale respondents, who were more likely to beunemployed. After five years (Stage 3), men and womenwere equally likely to be working as physicians, but themen were significantly more likely to be in residency programs to attain specialty status, while thewomen were more likely to be working as generalpractitioners. The narratives suggest that genderdifferences in professional behavior were intricatelyrelated to traditional gender-related family normswhich persisted throughout the Communist era. Thetendency for some of the women to delay resuming theircareer in Israel is seen as adaptive in the context of migration, because it provides continuity ofself-identity and family norms. Furthermore, women whochose to work as general practitioners saw this work asa continuation of their work in the USSR. After five years in Israel, there were no genderdifferences in work satisfaction, self-esteem, mood andgeneral adaptation to life in Israel.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 30, 2004
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