A male gynecologist in Iraq: red line violated

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General-Elect, briefs the press in Geneva.. Photo: UN/Daniel Johnson (2017)

This article was exclusively written for the Sting by Mr Hussein Ali AlShadeedi, a sixth-year medical student at the University of Kufa in Iraq. Mr Hussein Ali AlShadeedi 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 21st  century, the whole world is leading the efforts toward a better gender equality in the society, workplaces, and education. We always hear about the inspiring stories of social activists fighting for the female rights like Malala Yousafzai and many others.

In the Medical field the doctors tend to consider themselves as the league of the community and the most educated people, right or wrong it’s also this is how the community describe us, so apparently, the “League” and the “Most Educated” must have a better gender equality in the medical field? Well, that’s unfortunately not the rule.

In 2012 The American College of Surgeons made a survey in its centennial year, form a total number of 1,377 new fellows that year only 307 (17%) were women Surgeons, indeed Surgery is a male dominant specialty in these days and we always hear that females always find obstacles to be accepted in a surgery residency.

We rarely hear about gender inequality victims being men! especially in the developing countries where most victims are women being oppressed by a male dominant industries or communities.

Well, Now you are about to hear a different story concerning Gender Inequality from Iraq, a country that suffered multiple wars, instability and where religious conservatives are the majority of the community, being a male Gynecologist is indeed a taboo violated.

Many young male doctors and final year medical students when starting to think about choosing a specialty they always dismiss the Idea of choosing Gynecology and Obstetrics, not because they don’t like it but because it’s simply not allowed (legally there is nothing banning this specialty for men but it’s Usually not accepted in the community) and you always get discouraged by your teachers and even family members, You will always hear this sentence from your Gyn/Obe female professors saying “of course you will not be a Gynecologist but you have to study it” and to be more clear, from all the Gyn/Obe Doctors at my University Hospital (University of Kufa, Najaf) none of them is a man, and we always hear about that one Male Gynecologist that came from Baghdad to work in our city Hospital and got death threats to leave the hospital.

There is a high chance that a male gynecologist will be out of business, being outcast from the community or even receiving death threats from religious militias forcing them to flee the country for good.

The Idea of this story is not to comfort the poor gynecologists of Iraq but to carry an Important message, that gender inequality is not only a term describing the violations against women in the world but its a wider term that includes everyone, you might be a victim of gender Inequality as being a man as same as being a women so I urge you to widen your scope of the term of “Gender Equality” and always fight for the rights of others.

About the author

My Name is Hussein Ali AlShadeedi, a sixth-year medical student at the University of Kufa in Iraq. Medicine is not my only passion, I have participated in  and Led multiple civil society Organization including the Biggest Student Organization in my country which is IFMSA-Iraq working as A National Public Health officer NPO  and Leading Multiple civil society initiatives in my country, And I also got educated about Public Health and Public Policy management at the University of Massachusetts/ US. I am very interested in doing clinical researches and I have managed to be a part of two clinical research and hoping to continue on this path in the future. I have participated in the organization of multiple medical conferences in Iraq and also being part of the organizing committee of the IFMSA-Iraq National General Assembly NGA and the IFMSA international Eastern Mediterranean regional meeting  Public Health sessions EMR13 in Beirut, Lebanon.

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