Female representation is a weapon against patriarchal prejudice

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Ádrya Natálya Chaves Ribeiro da Silva and Letycia Fernandes de Godoy are second year medical students currently studying at the Centro Universitário do Planalto Central Apparecido dos Santos in Brazil. They are affiliated with 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.

Women’s leadership in medicine grows as female representation is more valued by women themselves, considering that the social environment, in which interactions are established, determines symbolic representations and exerts influence on individual behavior. Although there are currently more female faces in the undergraduate and professional fields, they are still seen as questionable professionals, since the positioning of women in a leadership role is devalued and negatively judged. It is a fact that medicine still has a gender gap caused by the prejudice of female insertion in certain positions, however, women are increasingly inspired and worthy of running after their goals without the difference being bigger than their desires of insertion in the field of action. 

In the first analysis, it is noticeable the constant struggle of women to conquer spaces in some specialties and leadership in multidisciplinary teams. Pierre Bourdieu, in his book “Male Domination”, analyzes that areas in which women show great interest suffer a devaluation because they do not attract male professional eyes, being labeled as “feminized” areas. In the medical environment, there is a belief that women are not interested in leadership positions or do not have the skills for it because they believe that there is low productivity linked to hormonal fluctuations, so when they exercise these functions, they are stereotyped as arrogant or overbearing, considering that the patriarchal society was taught to see women in inferior positions to men. 

On the other hand, even though there is still prejudice in the insertion of women in management positions, the gender gap in medicine is getting smaller, as a result of the increase of female representation in these positions. As an example, the admirable Angelita Habr-Gama, one of the most renowned Brazilian surgeons and the first woman to become a member of the American Surgical Association, became the founder and president of the Brazilian Association for the Prevention of Bowel Cancer. Another great example is the pediatrician and founder of the Pastoral da Criança, Zilda Arns, who helped the country to reduce the infant mortality rate, with the elaboration of the “homemade serum”. Thus, together with thousands of other women who have risen in their careers, they inspire students and doctors to want to progress and reach their goals.

With this, it is clear that even during graduation there are still deep-rooted gaps that hinder the professional development of women, with the female underachievement being observed in some areas or compacting for female acceptance in authoritarian positions. Furthermore, the reality of the scenario of female doctors in high positions is changing, due to their efforts to acquire spaces or reinforce those already conquered, proving that they are managing to close this gap, through the inspiration of great female names.

About the authors

Ádrya Natálya Chaves Ribeiro da Silva and Letycia Fernandes de Godoy are second year medical students currently studying at the Centro Universitário do Planalto Central Apparecido dos Santos in Brazil. They are local coordinators of the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. They are constantly discussing gender equality issues and updating themselves on women’s empowerment.

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

Banning caged farming in the EU: Hearing on the European Citizens’ Initiative

Coronavirus: EU strengthens action to tackle disinformation

Drawing scenarios for drifting Britain; elections or May’s deadlock?

10 tonnes of trash was taken off Everest – and repurposed

State aid: Commission approves €6 billion German measure to recapitalise Lufthansa

Beating cancer: MEPs react to the EU Plan for joint action

270 million people are migrants, who send home a staggering $689 billion

Media and entertainment in flux: it’s time for the close-up

Pandemic: another look at the self

What is systemic racism, and how can we combat it?

Europe had a record year for Measles – and it’s partly down to anti-vaccine campaigners

How we measure stakeholder capitalism will determine our recovery

Children suffering ‘atrocities’ as number of countries in conflict hits new peak: UNICEF

Agreement reached on new EU Solidarity Corps

World in grip of ‘high impact weather’ as US freezes, Australia sizzles, parts of South America deluged

2019 Innovation Scoreboards: The innovation performance of the EU and its regions is increasing

Why do medical students have to emigrate to become doctors in 2017?

We need to give voice to ‘We the Peoples’, says UN chief

Here are four steps SMEs can take for long-term success

The priority for workplaces in the new normal? Wellbeing

Commission imposes a fine of €561 million on Microsoft

Innovative finance tools could protect cities from climate change

How to make sure tech doesn’t leave people behind

The world is too complacent about epidemics. Here’s how to change

What UK and EU risk if Brexit “wins” these elections

TTIP 9th Round marked by American disappointment: Will some optimism save this trade agreement?

Are we at risk of a financial crisis? Our new report takes a look

Main results of Foreign Affairs EU Council, 16/07/2018

Paradise islands of Pacific increasingly vulnerable to climate change, as UN boosts resilience

Plants, the ‘core basis for life on Earth’, under increasing threat, warns UN food agency

De-stigmatizing a mental illness: importance of individual and collective representativeness

EU founding values: Commission starts legal action against Hungary and Poland for violations of fundamental rights of LGBTIQ people

6 steps every country must take now to prevent coronavirus deaths: WHO Director-General

Radio still a powerful worldwide tool for ‘dialogue, tolerance and peace’: Guterres

Why building consumer trust is the key to unlocking AI’s true potential

Racial abuse of England players exposes deep societal fractures and the need for change

It’s getting harder to move data abroad. Here’s why it matters and what we can do

European Green Deal: Commission proposes new strategy to protect and restore EU forests

Why the next step for antiracism is transportation

COVID-19: EU countries should harmonise testing procedures and frequency

Opponents of constitutional change in Burundi face torture and execution: UN investigators

6 data policy issues experts are tracking right now

Commission refers Denmark to the Court for failing to fulfil its obligations in relation to the name “Feta”

Quality education an ‘essential pillar’ of a better future, says UN chief

What slums can teach us about building the cities of the future

The banks dragged Eurozone down to fiscal abyss

Trade, entrepreneurship and the future of ASEAN’s economy

Is this the way to finally beat corruption?

Renewable energy could power the world by 2050. Here’s what that future might look like

EU-Vietnam trade agreement enters into force

Here’s how we make the internet safer for children

4 ways leaders are driving innovation in the public sector and revolutionising governance

Mental health: these songs are proven to reduce stress

Mediterranean migrant drownings should spur greater action by European countries, urge UN agencies

New poll shows what people think coronavirus will do to their economies

Macron leads EU-wide minimum wage call as Merkel, Medvedev warn of global injustice

Trump fines China with $50 billion a year plus some more…

Europe’s moment: Repair and prepare for the next generation

Q and A: This is how stakeholder capitalism can help heal the planet

More Stings?


  1. Good post. Women in medicine are changing the way that people view their profession. This change could not come at a better time- as we need all hands on deck for the global health crisis that looms ahead of us! Please visit my blog, https://www.oilway-valves.com/

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