Women in medicine: the right to gender equality – The European Sting – Critical News & Insights on European Politics, Economy, Foreign Affairs, Business & Technology
This article was written exclusively for The European Sting by Ms. Carolina Calandrine Duarte, 3rd year medical student at Centro Universitário do Planalto Central Apparecido dos Santos -UNICEPLAC in Brasilia, Brazil. It is affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA), a cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this article are strictly the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of IFMSA on the subject, nor of The European Sting.
Until 2020, the synonyms found when searching for the word “woman” in the Oxford English Dictionary included very offensive words such as frail and bint. This shows to what extent there is structural discrimination against women. By analyzing the role of women in society and in medicine, we find that for many years women have been treated with great injustice. For centuries they have been seen only as ranchers and caretakers of the house and children, and not as professionals, excluded from the fields of science and medicine.
This point of view has changed over the years thanks to many important women in history who fought for their rights, like Simone de Beauvoir. Feminist movements were also essential in promoting action and inspiring women around the world.
Despite all the progress made and the increase in gender parity in medical personnel across the world, female physicians still face challenges. Due to domestic responsibilities, rigidity of career structures, lack of access to education and discrimination, yet they represent only 46% of the medical community in the United States for example, showing the gap gender that still exists. Studies show that there are many areas in medicine where women are still grossly under-represented, such as neurosurgery, orthopedics, urology, general surgery, radiology and other areas where professionals and even patients still show prejudices and reluctance towards women. In addition, it is known that, until today, there are differences not only in the way they are treated but in salaries and in greater difficulty in accessing higher positions as well.
Much of the discrimination reported by female healthcare professionals comes from the historical belief, taught from our ancestors, that men are strong, fearless and confident, which women are not, and that in times of pressure. , they are not emotionally stable enough to solve problems and make decisions, bringing the misconception that they cannot be in the driving seat. However, such thoughts should no longer be tolerated.
According to Hillary Clinton’s quote that every woman is precious and powerful, that she deserves every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve her own dreams, this shows that initiatives to preserve and increase representation women are essential to reach the point where all ideas, opinions and rights are heard and respected, and where there is no more discrimination and differences, regardless of gender, especially in medicine.
- JEFFERSON, Laura et al. Women in Medicine: Historical Perspectives and Recent Trends. British medical bulletin, March 8, 2015. Availability em: http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.927.3938&rep=rep1&type=pdf. Access: March 20, 2021.
- RESHMA, Jagsi et al. Gender, role models, and choice of specialty among graduates of US medical schools in 2006-2008. Journal of the American College of Surgeons, 19 de Novembro de 2013. disponível em: Gender, models and choice of specialty among graduates of US medical schools in 2006-2008. – Summary – Europe PMC. Access: March 19, 2021.
- BONIOL, Mathieu et al. Gender equity in the health workforce: analysis of 104 countries. Health workforce discussion paper 1, March of 2019. Availability em: https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/311314/WHO-HIS-HWF-Gender-WP1-2019.1-eng.pdf. Access: March 19, 2021.
- FLOOD, Alison. New call for Oxford dictionaries to change “sexist” definitions. The Guardian, March 3, 2020. disponível em: New call for Oxford dictionaries to change “sexist” definitions | Books | The Guardian. Access: March 19, 2021.
About the Author
Carolina Calandrine Duarte is a 3rd year medical student at the Centro Universitário do Planalto Central Apparecido dos Santos -UNICEPLAC in Brasilia, Brazil. She has always been interested in new cultures, travel and languages, is fluent in English and speaks Korean, was president of her university’s gynecology and obstetrics league for 2 years, where she participated in several projects such as conferences, congresses and colloquiums. . She is committed to learning, participating in academic activities, producing and inspiring people, all with the goal of being a good, empathetic professional in the future.