Should women in medicine have to choose between the white coat and the white dress?
Do we really have to choose?
Women in medicine have often been subjected to choosing between their career and starting a family. The modern day woman is multi dimensional. She can be married with children and still bringing home the bacon or the vegan tacos. Often times, women in medicine are put into a box with rigid limits as it pertains to the specialties they can pursue.
So many male physicians and administrators love to offer unsolicited advice to female medical students when it comes to their residency choices.
In fact, if I had a dollar for every time I heard “You should pick a woman friendly specialty”, I wouldn’t need all of these student loans.
I’ve sat at numerous meetings where they specifically tell women to think about their future lives as mothers and wives because certain specialties are “too demanding”.
It’s interesting that women are instructed to pursue medical specialties that are more conducive to starting a family. The last time I checked, households can be ran by both parents, so why aren’t male medical students getting the same lecture?
The “Boys” Club
During my general surgery rotation, I observed how misogyny ruled the “Boy’s Club”. For a very long time, men have been the face of medicine. But, in the last few years, medical schools have seen classes split 50/50 in regards to male and female representation.
This is amazing because it means that more women are going into medicine to change the outdated narrative. There will be more physicians who are fully dedicated to addressing common conditions that are often overlooked in female patients.
There’s a portion of male physicians who believe that they are superior clinicians. Some male physicians believe that their female colleagues can’t “keep up with them” due to pregnancy, raising families and “natural capabilities”. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.
The Girls Club
Harvard conducted a study in 2016, with more than 1.5 million hospitalized patients and found that when patients were treated by female physicians, they were less likely to die or be readmitted to the hospital over a 30-day period compared to those treated by male doctors.
This is just one of many examples demonstrating the significance of women in medicine.
Every specialty is women friendly. We accept every challenge, save more lives and do it with untouchable grace.
Make sure to check out my #marriedtomedicine1 series on Instagram. I’ve been discussing all things related to marriage, medicine and everything in-between.