“If society will not admit of woman’s free development, then society must be remodeled.” – Elizabeth Blackwell

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Mandache Mădălina Elena, a fourth-year medical student in Craiova, Romania. 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.


The definition of bias states as following: ”the action of supporting or opposing a particular person or thing unfairly, because of allowing personal opinions to influence your judgment”. Women, for a long time now, have been part of the groups being, unfortunately, opposed. We have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go. 

People have consciously or unconsciously attributed certain stereotypes or attitudes towards women. The most alarming thing about this gender bias in healthcare and medical education is that we have no place to mention accountability. I believe there is no question that gender discrimination poses a valid threat to medical healthcare professionals’ learning, education, career progress and emotional well-being. Even though doctors, nurses and all the other professionals have an active duty to create and sustain a discrimination-free environment, gender gap in medicine is still an ongoing fight.

The leaders of this fight are none other than the women that occupy the authority positions in healthcare. Even though significantly less in numbers than men, they are the first change in closing the gender gap in medicine. In the medical field women account for 70% of the workforce, but hold only 25% of senior roles. (1) Even so, this 25% is the inspiration needed for the younger generation. They represent the “We can”. And to not be misunderstood, this effort should not and is not only made by women. Plenty loud male voices are advocating for this change, which will happen sooner or later.

Many things need to change in order to achieve this equity between genders in medicine. From the medical students being the starting point of discrimination (2) to the earning gap, that is an existing and real problem in all the regions of the world (3), active voices have started turning the gears in the system that can help us achieve an equitable sociey regardless of gender, race, colour, religion or any other characteristic that is part of a person’s unicity in the world. 

This perhaps distant but achievable world will be the outcome and accomplishment of all the people who have played a role in this.  From as early as the 16th century with infamous names such as Pocahontas and Anne Hutchinson to the now-famous admonition of the 18th century “remember the ladies” that the Founding Fathers put in their new laws due to Abigail Smith Adams, women’s history was, is and will continue to be remarkable. The 21st century just started and it is now our job to take even a modest step in helping to close the gap. No matter how little, always dream big. Be brave! “Let us make our future now, and let us make our dreams tomorrow’s reality.” – Malala Yousafzai.

Resources:

  1. Delivered by Women, Led by Men: A Gender and Equity Analysis of the Global Health and Social Workforce – Human Resources for Health Observer – Issue No. 24 (English, French)
  2. Nora LM, McLaughlin MA, Fosson SE, Stratton TD, Murphy-Spencer A, Fincher RM, German DC, Seiden D, Witzke DB. Gender discrimination and sexual harassment in medical education: perspectives gained by a 14-school study. Acad Med. 2002 Dec;77(12 Pt 1):1226-34. doi: 10.1097/00001888-200212000-00018. PMID: 12480632.
  3. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Table 18: Median Usual Weekly Earnings of Full-Time Wage and Salary Workers, By Detailed Occupation and Gender, 2018 Annual Averages (Numbers in Thousands),.” Women in the Labor Force: A Databook. 2019 Dec;

About the author

Mandache Mădălina Elena is a fourth-year medical student in Craiova, Romania. Passionated about both medical education and women empowerment, she has volunteered in the Standing Committee on Medical Education (SCOME) since her first contact with medical school. Her desire to improve herself allowed her to go from Local (Craiova Medical Students’ Society) to National (Romanian Federation of Medical Students’ Associations – FASMR) to the SCOME Regional Assistant for Europe in IFMSA (International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations).

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

Australia urged to evacuate offshore detainees amid widespread, acute mental distress

Any doubt?

From funders to partners: elevating community expertise to help communities thrive

German opposition win in Lower Saxony felt all over Europe

London is becoming the world’s first National Park City

Yemen consultations have started, insists top UN negotiator

Commission approves emergency measures to protect eastern Baltic cod

How data can help mining companies tackle their trust deficit

From drought to floods in Somalia; displacement and hunger worsen, says UN

From raised fists at the 1968 Olympics to taking the knee: A history of racial justice protests in sport

Will the European Court of Justice change data privacy laws to tackle terrorism?

This is how travel hotspots are fighting back against overtourism

Do all you can to resolve climate change ‘sticking points’ UN chief urges South-East Asian leaders, in Bali

Four lessons from Africa on building effective business ecosystems

Australian homes are turning to solar power in record numbers

European research priorities for 2021-2027 agreed with member states

Meeting the basic needs of our healthcare workers

Mental health: a medical school’s demand

Embracing the diversity in a multicultural city of Romania

The EU Commission lets money market funds continue the unholy game of banks

How the power of sport can bring us together and drive social justice

EU Blue Card: Commission welcomes political agreement on new rules for highly skilled migrant workers

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

Ukraine’s new political order not accepted in Crimea

Protecting European consumers: toys and cars on top of the list of dangerous products

This is how New York plans to end its car culture

Progress against torture in Afghan detention centres, but Government needs to do more, says UN report

European Citizens’ Initiative: Commission registers ‘Mandatory food labelling Non-Vegetarian / Vegetarian / Vegan’ initiative’

Is South Korea set to lose from its FTA with the EU?

Anti-vaccers: does the empty can rattle the most?

The role of public affairs in student NGOs

Future Forces Forum: Prague will be hosting the most important project in the field of Defence and Security

Latin America’s cities are ready to take off. But their infrastructure is failing them

Political power of women suffering ‘serious regression’, General Assembly President warns

7 top things to know about coronavirus today

How global trade can save lives and livelihoods – and help protect the planet

EU job-search aid worth €9.9 million for 1,858 former Air France workers

European Semester 2018 Spring Package: Commission issues recommendations for Member States to achieve sustainable, inclusive and long-term growth

COVID-19: Save European culture and values, MEPs tell Commission

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

We need to rethink ESG to ensure access to water and sanitation for all

International Court of Justice orders Pakistan to review death penalty for Indian accused of spying

Rise in violent conflict shows prevention ‘more necessary than ever’: UN chief

Top UN political official updates Security Council on Iran nuclear deal

It’s not summer holidays what lead to the bad August of the German economy

How can the world end viral hepatitis by 2030? 5 experts explain

How to talk about climate change: 5 tips from the front lines

Failure to open accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia is a mistake

Myanmar doing too little to ensure displaced Rohingya return: UN refugee agency chief

Further reforms in Sweden can drive growth, competitiveness and social cohesion

EU-UK relations: solutions found to help implementation of the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland

Statistics show the ugly face of youth training schemes

Croatian Presidency outlines priorities to EP committees

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

5 droughts that changed human history

Are the G20 leaders ready to curb corporate tax-avoidance?

European Youth, quo vadis?

China is the first non-EU country to invest in Europe’s €315 billion Plan

EU institutions agree on priorities for coming years: A common agenda for our recovery and renewed vitality

Coronavirus Global Response: EIB and Commission pledge additional €4.9 billion

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