Gifty Dominah cannot remember a time growing up that she did not think about becoming a doctor.

“When I was 5 years old, and my dad would ask me what I wanted to be, I would say, ‘A doctor,'” she said. “It was one of the only careers that I knew about, but I knew that I liked it.”

In August, the 24-year-old from Maryland entered the George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington.

Historically, medicine has attracted fewer women than men because of long working hours associated with the profession and the rigorous academic background required in advanced science and math –subjects that women have been less likely to pursue. Three decades ago, just over a third of medical students were women.

But this year, Dominah joined a class of medical students that for the first time is majority female nationwide, according to a new report by the Washington-based Association of American Medical Colleges. After making steady gains since the 1960s, women have hovered close to the 50 percent mark nationally for the past 15 years. The number of male applicants was slightly higher in 2017, but since 2015, male applicants declined while female applicants increased.

Many advocates of the profession credit the increasing number of women in medical schools to a growing emphasis on so-called pipeline programs that encourage girls to pursue math and science from the time they are in grade school.

Several medical schools around Washington long ago surpassed the 50 percent mark for women, and some have far surpassed it.