“A medical education is wasted on women. They take up slots that could be used by men that would actually work!”
It sounds outrageous but a physician in my residency program actually said this to me and other women in the program. He was in the year behind me. We all made him pay dearly for that.
His point was that women are more likely to stop practicing early. Or not practice at all. Or only work part time. And he was right, even if I hated him for saying it out loud.
Women have different priorities. But does that mean we should be excluded from the profession?
I paid off my student loans in three years so that I would not be a slave to my education. You would not know I was a physician by how I live because I am saving everything I can for early retirement or temporary sabbatical.
I have been practicing full time for ten years and truthfully I did not think I would stick it out this long. The fact that I am even considering another ten years is surprising to me. But even if I quit today, I would like to think that I was worth the investment, that I helped enough people to warrant my education. It takes courage to show up every day and work this hard!
And for those female physicians who choose to work part time or who have quit practicing, your education was not a waste either. You have helped male physicians that you work with see and understand more of our perspective. You have served as role models for other women and highlighted the importance of family and children in our lives. Your decision was not a wrong one.
If we are more likely to leave medicine or less likely to work full-time, then maybe there should be two slots for women for every spot for a man?