Gender Disparity in Medicine

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Deisha Laksmitha Ayomi, a medical doctor at Airlangga University in Indonesia. She 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.

In medical education, we often experience gender gaps in daily so that it becomes a culture. Although many of us have started to increase awareness by starting conversations and increasing representation in leadership roles, gender disparity has remained a problem for several years.

Fighting gender disparity requires a lot of support, not only from women who have to push themselves to take the leadership role, but men also have to change the culture and support them. This is our common problem and we must invite people as many as possible to change the culture that has been rooted for years.

The government also plays an important role, such as in making policies so that women are not under representative, in facilitating a comfortable environment for women such as breast pumping facilities and child care and maternity leave.

In the world of medicine, especially in developing countries, we often find more men who take important positions and become decision-makers than women, and this happens in almost all departments, especially in the field of surgery and anesthesia.

When I was in medical school, almost three-quarters were women, but when I continued to higher education, there were often many problems and lack of opportunities that prevented women from continuing their education. Women are often considered inexperienced, too emotional, and bossy, especially women who are still young.

We need to prove ourselves again and again especially for women who do not have any background privileges. It is very different when I studied the health system in the developed country, almost all the leaders in the department are women.

But, I am so lucky to know a few female head departments who have good leadership and hardworking. They can be an example and role models for young women, so young women can believe in themselves that they are capable and deserve to take the leadership role.

About the author

Deisha Laksmitha Ayomi is  a medical doctor at Airlangga University in Indonesia. She is affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Students Association (IFMSA).

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