“Medical education is wasted on women!” He sat smugly in the swivel chair next to me, arms folded across his chest. He was within earshot of two other female physicians but neither acknowledged or engaged him.
“Why?” I asked. I had just finished a 36 hour shift from hell. I was not sure I had the energy to discuss this but rage broke through the cloud of fatigue.
“Well, think about it. You women are getting pregnant and have to cut back on work to some degree during that, then maternity leave. You cut back on hours afterwards maybe working part time, or even quit medicine altogether.” He leaned forward. “Those slots in medical school and residency programs should be saved for men who will work at capacity for years and years.”
He had a point.
A woman in our program had just had her second baby and announced she was going to be a stay at home mom once she graduated in a few months… Four years of medical school and three years of residency training gone, down the drain.
And yet there was a man in our same program who announced about the same time that he was joining a monastery and would no longer practice medicine. No one told him his education was a waste…
Sexual harassment is a symptom of a larger problem perhaps, the age old question of what to do about women. In fact, as I was looking for stats for this, interestingly it is studied as gender discrimation or gender bias and sexual harrassment, together. An article by Medscape from 2010 entitled “Women in Medicine: Are We There Yet?” shows the number of women vs men in medicine in the U.S. is trending upwards with women making up about a third of the the profession and almost 1/2 of medical school graduates, but the data and stories about gender discrimination and harrassment are startling.
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/732197 (I don’t know why the heck WP won’t let me do a hyperlink for this one…)
To summarize, 48% of female academic physicians experienced sexist behavior with 30% reporting severe harassment compared with 3% of male colleagues. There are some interesting observations from female residents and medical students about their experiences, including the report that virtually all of them felt male physicians were better teachers and that working with female attendings was disappointing. And, according to the US Census Bureau, in 2000 female physicians earned 63 cents for every dollar made by a male physician.
Suchled provided a link to a much more balanced article than the one from the BBC from my last two posts that gives a bit more insight into Dr. McMullen’s intentions:
So. Bottom line… Equality?
To be completely honest, I don’t really want to be equal.
I want something more…