Gender Equality as a platform to improve Medicine

Andriukaitis European Commission

Vytenis Andriukaitis, Member of the EC in charge of Health and Food Safety in Moscow where he attends a WHO event and high level meetings. © European Union , 2017 / Photo: Vasily Maximov.

This article was exclusively written for the Sting by Ms Leah Boquin, a medical student at her seventh yearof Medicine at the National Autonomous University of Honduras at Sula Valley (UNAH-VS). Ms Boquin is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA). The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

In the last years, gender equality has been more and more discussed by all the International Organizations, not just with the purpose of giving women more opportunities to develop themselves into the professional area, but also to give them the same rights that their counterpart already enjoy.

While seeking women’s empowerment the medical field has been reached. Nowadays, we can see a more proportionate distribution of men and women as medical students, physicians, scientists and nurses in most countries in the world; this is an advance that this Century can boast about. However, it is not enough. It is well known that even when the presence of women in the medical field has increased these often don’t receive the same recognition –professional, economical and moral- from their homologues and from their patients.

It is common, especially in countries with a more paternalistic vision, that women physicians are not as trusted as men physicians at the moment of giving a diagnosis or discussing the management of a disease; even when there are several studies that present that in areas like Surgery or Internal Medicine female doctors have more favorable patient outcomes, fewer complications and lower death rates and readmissions to the hospital, compared to the male doctors. This has been attributed to the female doctors’ ability to communicate and compromise with their patients, as well as their meticulous way of carrying out each procedure.

By giving women more opportunities to be part of the medical field, one that historically has been male dominated, we are creating not just a more equilibrated system but also a better society; one that can benefit of giving women the right to use their knowledge and their abilities to generate an impact in this generation and the ones that follow.

In the meantime, gender shouldn’t be a factor of discussion. Men and women have the ability of being great leaders, outstanding professionals and responsible citizens; whose ideals of building a better world can be boosted by receiving the right education and the opportunities that they need to express them and choose their path, not the one that has been set for them. It is time to break all the paradigms.

We still have some road ahead, but every day there is some progress related with this. We must remember that gender equality is not just a right; it’s a necessary foundation for our society to grow up, to be better. I hope that one day all the countries can enjoy of a society with no difference between gender, where we can look back and feel proud of the advance we made and how we, this generation, contributed to get there.

About the author

Irmary Leah Ashley Niccole Boquin Posadas is 22 years old and in her seventh year of Medicine at the National Autonomous University of Honduras at Sula Valley (UNAH-VS). She is an advocate of human rights, passionate for research and interested in multicultural awareness. Ms. Boquin is currently the Secretary of the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations in the National Autonomous University of Honduras at Sula Valley (IFMSA-UNAHVS).

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