Gender Equality and medicine in the 21st Century: we want the fair share

Tedros WHO

Dr Tedros Adhanom, Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO, 2017)

This article was exclusively written for the Sting by Ms Julia Puaschunder, a 5th year medical student at the Medical University of Innsbruck Austria, and currently part of the Extended Executive Board at the Austrian Medical Students’ Association. Ms Puaschunder 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.

If I’m asked, when will there be enough women on the Supreme Court, I say, ‚When there are nine.‘ People are shocked – but there’ve been nine men, like forever, and nobody’s ever raised their eyebrows at that.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court Justice

Some people might think that raising awareness on gender inequality in Europe is complaining from a very privileged position. Women in Europe have the right to vote, to seek education and to work. Women can dress how they want to and say what they want to. But do we have the right to ask for more?

The recent release of the Gender Equality Index revealed the most obvious issues women face in Europe nowadays: When it comes to power in politics, economics or at the work place, as in the share of ministers or the share of members of boards, women are still underrepresented even though women seek higher education and have better qualifications than a decade ago. For years already, there are more female medical students than male medical students in Austria, yet female chief physicians are and will be a rarity. It shows that a female quota should not be a taboo word anymore. The female quota should be viewed as a stepping-stone to help qualified women to get their seat at the table. It takes politicians – female and male – to take a stand and ensure equality. Women deserve more than symbolic speeches and gender-neutral language. Women want their fair share.

The Index also shed light upon inequalities that women must face day-to-day. Women still have to tackle a lot more in their daily life than men- household, cooking, caring for their children, are still mostly female tasks. Female doctors often need to work half-time to be able to master those challenges. This issue is probably the most difficult to combat.  Indeed, there can’t be a law, forcing men to do laundry. But what there can be, is men living by example – husbands taking chores off of their wives’ shoulders, fathers teaching their sons how to support women and treat them with respect. There will never be full gender equality, if only half of the population is fighting for it.

Sexism, not only at the work place, is an extremely disregarded issue, particularly in conservative countries, where it seems to be socially acceptable to reduce women to their bodies. Especially female doctors must work twice as hard to gain respect from their male co-workers. I myself lost count on how many times a doctor referred to me as the “pretty young lady”, while referring to the male medical students as “colleagues”. It takes a support system of politicians, employers, husbands, fathers, brothers, boyfriends and colleagues to ensure that sexism is unacceptable in today’s Europe.

Yes, we have come a long way. But there is still a large gap between gender equality on paper that so many strong women fought for in the past, and the challenges women must face in the real world. So yes, we do have the right to ask for more. And yes, we do have the right to get it.

Reference:

http://eige.europa.eu/gender-equality-index

About the author

I am a 5th year medical student at the Medical University of Innsbruck Austria, and currently part of the Extended Executive Board at the Austrian Medical Students’ Association. I have strong interests in Public Health and Sexual and Reproductive Health and I am involved in several activities regarding those topics at my University. I truly believe that this world would be a better place with more women in politics and leadership positions.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Half the world’s refugee children not in school, UN agency finds

Commission sets moderate greenhouse gas reduction targets for 2030

Medical students: The need for emigration

Vaccines: from miracle to possible danger

A conceptual approach to Violence Against Healthcare in Turkey from SDG’s

The West definitively cuts Russia off from the developed world

GSMA Announces New Speakers for Mobile 360 Series – Middle East and North Africa

How robotics can help humanitarians bridge the digital divide

The needs, challenges and power dynamics of refugee resettlement

What do toilets have to do with climate change?

What will the US look like under Trump? Was his election campaign a big scam?

From drones to health data, how Japan can power ahead

Euronest: delivering reforms is the best way forward for EU’s Eastern Partners

Financial inclusion in India is soaring. Here’s what must happen next

Eurozone bank rescues ‘a la carte’ until 2015 then only bail-ins

4 ways the US can take the lead in the fight against human trafficking

Venezuela: Parliament recognises Guaidó, urges EU to follow suit

UN humanitarian coordinator condemns Central African Republic hospital attack as ‘inhuman and unworthy’

Why cities hold the key to safe, orderly migration

Trump’s Russophiles under investigation, Europe remains ‘en garde’

Aid teams respond to escalating southwest Syria conflict: 750,000 civilians are at risk

MEPs want ambitious funding for cross-border projects to connect people

Polish PM chooses to focus on economy, amid questions on rule of law in Poland

Clamp down on illegal trade in pets, urge Public Health Committee MEPs

5 rules for making employers and employees trust each other again

Trade, taxes and other takeaways from Li Keqiang’s speech to the World Economic Forum

The US banks drive the developing world to a catastrophe

Unemployment and immigrants haunt the EU; who can offer relief?

A Sting Exclusive: “EU’s Sustainable Finance Action Plan – Laying down the foundations for a Greener Financial System”, by European Commission’s Vice-President Dombrovskis

Eurozone needs more than some decimals of growth

The ECB accuses the politicians of inaction, continues injecting billions to banks

Eurozone: Disinflation engulfs the industrial goods sector

Congrats to the #FutureofMalta: a new age of voting

EU leaders let tax-evaders untouched

MWC 2016 LIVE: T-Mobile US reveals 5G trial plans

Visa liberalisation: Commission reports on fulfilment of visa-free requirements by Western Balkans and Eastern Partnership countries

Intergenerational, intercultural, interactive – The 2015 edition of JADE’s Generations Club: Transforming Europe into an entrepreneurial society

Population in crisis hit EU countries will suffer for decades

China Unlimited: an exclusive interview with the former Ambassador of Hungary to China

A Valentine’s Special: giving back, a dialogue of love

Brain drain 2017: why do medical students need to emigrate to become doctors in 2017?

Anti-vaccine sentiment one of 10 biggest health threats, says WHO

“Sorry mom it’s not our day”: the true refugee story of a young doctor and his family forced to flee their home

Can Obama attract Iran close to the US sphere of influence?

MWC 2016 LIVE: Freemium MVNO model a success, claims FreedomPop head

Twenty days that may remold the future of Europe

Human Rights Council election: 5 things you need to know about it

Minsk “ceasefire” leaves more doubts than safety, with EU already planning steps further

First-ever UN report on disability and development, illustrates inclusion gaps

Can the EU last long if it cuts Cyprus out?

EU Budgets: Europe hoping for Xmas gifts

2030 development agenda: Major breakthrough for world of work

Global leaders and companies pledge to reduce the gender pay gap by 2030

EU tells Britain stay in as long as you wish

Global growth is slowing amid rising trade and financial risks

The EU condemns Faroe Islands and Iceland to poverty

The European Parliament wants to stay in one place

The ‘ASEAN way’: what it is, how it must change for the future

Opening Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Yang Yanyi, Head of the Chinese Mission to the EU at the Chinese Fashion Night

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s