Women in medicine: the right to gender equality

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Carolina Calandrine Duarte, a 3rd year medical student at the Centro Universitário do Planalto Central Apparecido dos Santos -UNICEPLAC in Brasília, Brazil. He is 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 writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


Until 2020 the synonyms found, when one searched for the word “woman” in Oxford English Dictionary, included some highly offensive words such as frail and bint. This shows how there is structural discrimination against women. As we analyse the female´s role in society and in medicine, we see that for many years women were largely treated with inequity. For centuries, they were seen only as breeders and caretakers of the home and children, and not as professionals, being excluded from the realms of science and medicine.

This point of view has been changing throughout the years due to many important women in history who fought for their rights, such as Simone de Beauvoir. Feminist movements were also essential to promote actions and inspire women globally.

Despite all the progress that was made and the increase in gender balance in the medical workforce around the world, women physicians still face difficulties. Due to domestic responsibilities, rigidity in career structures, lack of access to education, and discrimination, they represent yet only 46% in the medical comunity in the US for example, showing the gender gap that still exists. Studies show that there are many fields inside medicine where women are still substantially under-represented such as neurosurgery, orthopaedics, urology, general surgery, radiology, and others fields where professional and even patients still show prejudice and reluctance in female acceptance. Besides, it is known that, until today, there are differences not only in the way they are treated but in salary and in a greater difficulty to reach higher positions too.

A large part of the discrimination reported by women health professionals comes from historical belief, taught since our ancestors, that men are strong, fearless and confident, which women are not, and that in times of pressure they are not emotionally stable enough to solve problems and make decisions, bringing the false conception that they cannot be in lidership. However, thoughts like that should not be tolerated anymore.

According to Hillary Clinton’s quote that says that every woman is valuable and powerful, deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve their own dreams, it shows that initiatives to preserve and increase the representation of women are essential to get to the point where all ideas, opinions and rights are heard and respected, and where there is no more discrimination and differences, regardless of gender, especially in medicine.

References

  1. JEFFERSON, Laura, et al. Women in medicine: historical perspectives and recent trends. British Medical Bulletin, 8 de março de 2015. Disponível em:  http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.927.3938&rep=rep1&type=pdf. Acesso em: 20 de março de 2021.
  1. RESHMA, Jagsi, et al. Sex, role models, and specialty choices among graduates of US medical schools in 2006-2008. Journal of the American College of Surgeons, 19 de Novembro de 2013. Disponível em: Sex, role models, and specialty choices among graduates of US medical schools in 2006-2008. – Abstract – Europe PMC. Acesso em: 19 de março de 2021.
  1. BONIOL, Mathieu, et al. Gender equity in the health workforce: Analysis of 104 countries. Health Workforce Working paper 1, março de 2019. Disponível em: https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/311314/WHO-HIS-HWF-Gender-WP1-2019.1-eng.pdf. Acesso em: 19 de mar de 2021.
  1. FLOOD, Alison. Fresh call for Oxford dictionaries to change ‘sexist’ definitions. The guardian, 3 mar de 2020. Disponível em: Fresh call for Oxford dictionaries to change ‘sexist’ definitions | Books | The Guardian. Acesso em: 19 mar de 2021.

About the author

Carolina Calandrine Duarte is a 3rd year medical student at the Centro Universitário do Planalto Central Apparecido dos Santos -UNICEPLAC in Brasília, Brazil. She has always been interested in new cultures, travel and languages, is fluent in English and speaks Korean, was president of the gynecology and obstetrics league at her university for 2 years, where she was involved in several projects such as lectures, congresses and symposia. She is committed to learning, participating in academic activities, producing and inspiring people, all with the goal of being a good and empathetic professional in the future.

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 and China to do more in common if the global scene gets worse

Click and Download: your app is ready to help you save lives

WHO reports ‘very strong progress’ in battling DR Congo Ebola outbreak

New Eurobarometer survey shows: The majority of Europeans think the EU should propose additional measures to address air quality problems

Public Health equality in a trench

10 ways cities are tackling the global affordable housing crisis

Germany tries to save Europe from war between Ukraine and Russia

Long-term EU budget: It is not possible to do more with less, say MEPs

UN chief saddened at news of death of former US President George H.W. Bush

End discrimination against women and children affected by leprosy

Drought in southern Africa: EU releases over €22 million in humanitarian aid

These tech start-ups are changing what it means to farm

Attack on Saudi facilities risks dragging Yemen into ‘regional conflagration’: UN Envoy

Celebrating the Customs Union: the world’s largest trading bloc turns 50

How to outsmart bias when you’re recruiting

Primary Healthcare vs Specialization Careers, how to promote PHC to the Young Health Workforce?

Haitian Foreign Minister calls for development reboot to close ‘striking gap’ between promises and action on ending poverty

This is how drones and other ‘tradetech’ are transforming international trade

European Democracy Action Plan: making EU democracies stronger

Why we need a blockchain bill of rights

Prospect of a nuclear war ‘higher than it has been in generations’, warns UN

Antitrust: Commission imposes binding obligations on Gazprom to enable free flow of gas at competitive prices in Central and Eastern European gas markets

How 3 MENA business leaders are building resilient companies post-COVID-19

Thousands of health professionals call on world leaders to prioritize a greener future, post-pandemic

Kenya wants to run entirely on green energy by 2020

COVID vaccination campaign. What are the challenges?

Greece bailout ends but with no substantial effect on citizens’ life

1 million citizens try to create a new EU institution

What the next 20 years will mean for jobs – and how to prepare

Statement by Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, on the announcement to postpone the COP26

EU and US take decisive step to end aircraft dispute

How COVID-19 is making companies act for the long term

We need tech solutions that value human interaction more than ever

Grievous violations continue against Myanmar civilians, Human Rights Council hears

The West and Russia accomplished the dismembering and the economic destruction of Ukraine

Guterres lauds UN peacekeeping, highlights need to bridge ‘critical’ gaps

How cities are failing to be inclusive – and what they can do about it

We must stop turning a blind eye to the world’s health crises

London wants to treat violent crime like a disease

Cybersecurity Act: build trust in digital technologies

MasterCard @ MWC14: Innovation in times of regulatory uncertainty

The digital revolution will transform the steel industry

‘Protracted crisis’ in Venezuela leads to ‘alarming escalation of tensions’: UN political chief

From battlefields to boardrooms: 3 steps to building high-morale teams

‘Act now with ambition and urgency’ to tackle the world’s ‘grave climate emergency’, UN chief urges UAE meeting

African cooperation on peace ‘increasingly strong’, Security Council told

European Green Deal: Commission presents actions to boost organic production

State aid: Commission approves €790 million Croatian guarantee scheme for companies with export activities affected by coronavirus outbreak

How COVID-19 might help us win the fight against climate change

Civilians suffering due to sanctions must be spared ‘collective punishment’ urges UN rights expert

5 urgent actions in the fightback against ransomware

The UN came of age with the nuclear bomb. Time for it to step up to the AI era

How can we prepare students for the Fourth Industrial Revolution? 5 lessons from innovative schools around the world

How digital identity can improve lives in a post-COVID-19 world

How we measure stakeholder capitalism will determine our recovery

Commission disburses €14.1 billion under SURE to 12 Member States

How distorted is the EU labour market by this crisis?

UN study projects $32 billion loss for UK post no-deal Brexit

One for all? Are physicians prepared to deliver care to the LGBTQIA+ community?

Trade surplus up production down in Eurozone

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