Women in medicine: carrying on historic struggles and broadening horizons

(Christina Victoria Craft, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr João Pedro Cadore and Ms. Eduarda Pereira de Barros, two fourth year medical students at UniCesumar, Brazil. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writers and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

The process of deconstruction of the historical social structure, which guaranteed the majority occupation in medical courses by men, made it possible for women to ascend to medical school.3 This transition process, known as the feminization of medicine, was stimulated by female empowerment and struggles against gender inequality, and supported bringing up to the debate ideological issues that reinforce the role of women in society.3,4

Regardless of biological sex, everyone has skills related to healthcare. Skills such as alleviating suffering, promoting health and well-being, comforting and rehabilitating were never exclusive attitudes of men or women, but necessary prerequisites for any health professional, especially physicians.1 Despite that, medical career unfortunately represents one of the most segregated professions between the genders.2

The insertion of the feminization of medicine in addition to envisioning a promising future supports a historic effort that has endured decades of struggles for equality and raising flags for women, whose, regardless of technical or professional qualification, were objectified and considered inferior to men.1,4 Despite the barriers imposed by society, the role of women is gradually being recognized.3

As much as this process is increasingly consolidated, medicine is still uneven. The female presence in healthcare has increased a lot, but this fact still doesn’t guarantee necessary changes such as equal salary, greater presence in college and positions of administrative leadership in hospitals.5 These professionals are victims of lower wages and worse job conditions, whether due to the right to leave, vacations, among others.

This transformation represents the union of multidirectional efforts, which guarantee equal rights between women and men, whether within professional or personal scope. In this sense, the predominance of females in ​​healthcare area brings up extremely positive consequences. In addition, women have the same or even better ability to conduct medical activities, given the ease in leading, optimizing and recognizing vulnerable populations.5

The need for women in prominent positions in any area is undeniable, and in order to that it’s essential to maintain the feminist struggle for the preservation of rights and the possibility of professional advancement, as well as existing in the opposite sex. The historical struggle and the feminization of this profession represent part of the battle, which must be experienced and stimulated daily in the medical environment, especially by medical students.5

As a numerical majority and a future medical professional, a woman must aim for administrative leadership positions and fight for fair salary, appropriate working conditions and respect, which are her rights once she went through academic activities and qualification just like any other doctor. Only this way, medical students will be the forefront and encouragement for further changes in society, thus benefiting not only this profession, but also serving as inspiration for all others.


  1. Guia Da Profissão Médica. Medical feminization. [internet]; 2016 [accessed sep 25, 2020]. WordPress.com. Available in https://guiadaprofissaomedica.wordpress.com/category/a-mulher-na-medicina/

About the authors

João Pedro Cadore is 22 years old, fourth year medical student at UniCesumar, Brazil. He is a monitor of clinical skills discipline and member of Surgery and Pneumology League.

Eduarda Pereira de Barros is 22 years old fourth year medical student at UniCesumar, Brazil. Shee is a monitor of the discipline of human anatomy and a member of Gastroenterology Leaguelinical.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

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

EU Civil Protection Mechanism must be sufficiently funded to save lives

The power of digital tools to transform mental healthcare

A Year in China

GSMA Outlines New Developments For MWC19 Shanghai

“Our house is on fire.” 16 year-old Greta Thunberg wants action

FROM THE FIELD: Conversations about Conservation

The Amazon is reaching a dangerous tipping-point. We need to scale solutions now if we have any chance of saving it

How we measure stakeholder capitalism will determine our recovery

UN underscores the need to celebrate indigenous peoples, not confine them

South Sudan famine threat: UN food security agency in ‘race against time’

Parliament seals 2014 EU budget and the spending ceiling until 2020

How COVID-19 is taking gaming and esports to the next level

DR Congo: Restore internet services as ‘a matter of urgency’, urges UN expert

COVID-19 put 1.6 billion children out of school. Here’s how to upgrade education post-pandemic

Historic first, as Tolstoy’s War and Peace lands in Geneva, to mark international centenary

Groundbreaking cancer-fighting drugs now included in updated UN list of essential medicines

What the Women’s World Cup can teach us about capitalism

Why remote working doesn’t have to mean alienated employees

What’s an ‘essential service’? Not knowing could block access to key digital services during COVID

Summer 2019 Economic Forecast: Growth clouded by external factors

One-third of Afghans need urgent humanitarian aid, millions suffer ‘acute food insecurity’

Antitrust: Commission consults stakeholders on a possible new competition tool

Disease slashing global meat output, cereals boom, bananas under watch: FAO

DiscoverEU: 20,000 more young people will explore Europe in 2020

‘No safe way’ into battle-scarred Afghan city of Ghazni to deliver aid as traumatized children search for parents

China-EU Special Report: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang endorses China’s big investment on Juncker’s plan at 10th China-EU Business Summit

This Japanese town has banned urban sprawl

EU to relocate 40,000 migrants across the bloc: first step of a long due substantial reform?

How the inventor of the internet plans to make it safe and accessible for everyone

Auditors say EU spending delivers limited value for money but the timing of their report poses questions

What just happened? 5 themes from the COP24 climate talks in Poland

Human trafficking: stronger measures to protect women, children and migrants

How regenerative agroforestry could solve the climate crisis

Two-thirds of global drug deaths now from opioids: UN drugs report

Agreement reached on new EU Solidarity Corps

Google’s bare truth: Europe’s Chief denies EU accusations but admits they “don’t always get it right”

State aid: Commission approves Luxembourg guarantee measure to further support economy in coronavirus outbreak

Nagorno-Karabakh: EU allocates additional €3 million in humanitarian aid for conflict-affected civilians

State aid: Commission approves €24.7 million of Italian support to compensate Alitalia for further damages suffered due to coronavirus outbreak

This 3D-printed steak could help us reduce meat consumption

Powering through the pandemic

Why your next work meeting should be a ‘walk-and-talk’

4 eco-friendly products put sustainable spins on classic practices, from teacups to hankies

Parliament closes legal loophole to stop excessive Ukrainian chicken imports

FROM THE FIELD: South Sudan’s green shoots, highlight environmental recovery from war

6 ways countries can prepare for the next infectious disease pandemic

UN rights expert ‘strongly recommends’ probe by International Criminal Court into ‘decades of crimes’ in Myanmar

Global Citizen-Volunteer Internships

The Bavarians threaten Berlin and Brussels with immigration crisis

EU Member States test their cybersecurity preparedness for free and fair EU elections

With the right leadership, sustainable finance can help us shift to a low-carbon economy

More people now plan to get a COVID-19 vaccine than in December

How to provide health education and thus create better health systems

Mental health during COVID-19 outbreak: who takes care of health professionals?

IMF: All you want to know about Argentina

ICC Appeals Chamber acquits former Congolese Vice President Bemba from war crimes charges

Skills: Five new cross-border collaboration projects selected for Erasmus+ funding to develop excellence in vocational training in Europe

LGBTQI+ and medicine

Syria: UN chief warns Idlib offensive may set off ‘humanitarian catastrophe’

YouTube stars get creative at UN, to promote tolerance

More Stings?



  1. Laudicéia Sutil Moraes de Barros says:

    Quero primeiramente parabenizar Eduarda Pereira de Barros pelo seu artigo publicado e também pelas palavras exaltando o quanto a mulher é capaz de desempenhar seu papel nas diversas áreas de atuação. Parabéns Eduarda pela sua garra e determinação nos seus estudos. Desejo muito sucesso na sua profissão e na sua vida.

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