Ooh dat double tap like feature on Instagram just got me. Scrait up creepin and did it on accident.
Anonymous asked: hai! i follow you on tumblr but i'm asking this anon.. and i'm also not the greatest with words.. in regards to your post about "fixing" the whole "number of women in surgical specialties".. for some reason i feel like "fix" is not the right word slash it bothers me.. i think women are certainly as capable as men (if not more imho) but there are plenty of reasons that plenty of women don't go into surgery -- including a very noble one.. just my two cents. with kindness, a half asleep male intern
I think “fix” is exactly the right word. I think “fix” is the right word because women aren’t selecting against more competitive specialties—they’re being excluded by the culture. They’re being excluded by a culture that denies them advancement, isolates them, allows them to undergo harassment, and penalizes them for choosing to have families (while male colleagues do not undergo such penalties).
I certainly agree that men and women are equally capable of practicing medicine in those “more competitive” or “more time consuming” fields. I’m glad we agree on that point. However, as a woman, I see that the culture around me is broken. It’s a culture that, despite evidence to the contrary, tells me I am worth less as a doctor based on my two X chromosomes—and when I see that in the culture around me I would say that’s broken and in need of fixing.
I’m not just making this up. I’m not just telling you this because I was told to my face by admissions boards that I was “too pretty” to go med school. I’m not just saying this because I’ve been asked “well—won’t you change your mind about what you want to do if you get married or have kids?”. I’m not just saying this because I’ve lived it—the facts support a broken culture—the science proves women are still being left behind.
The science proves we’re not as far past a 1950s era of thinking as we once thought.
As of 2012 only 4% of full professors of medical school faculty are women even though they make up nearly equal numbers of physicians receiving degrees. Only 12% of department heads will be women. 12%. Can I say that again?? 12%. 1 in 10 will be female—even though nearly half of the qualified candidates happen to be women. So women will experience slower advancement EVEN THOUGH it has been proven time and time again that women share similar leadership aspirations and are equally as productive as men. Don’t believe me? Let’s talk about how this was published in the Journal of Internal Med by Harvard professors in a study of over 4,000 faculty at 26 US medical colleges. (1)
Nearly half of female physicians report experiencing professional sexual harassment. This isn’t talking about being cat-called by the drunk guy in the ER. HALF of female physicians will undergo sexual harassment by a colleague! A professional member of the same field! While the numbers of men who will undergo such treatment is nearly negligible in comparison. This isn’t some small study either—this is a study of over 3,000 full-time faculty published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.(2)
Male physicians earn on average $13,399 MORE than female colleagues. Oh, you think you’ve got this one figured? Men go into more competitive specialties therefore they earn more?? WRONG. Coming from JAMA, women earn LESS even after corrected for specialty, rank, leadership, publications, and research time. Do you hear that? More than $10,000 extra dollars a year for equal work. So when I say that it needs to be fixed—do you hear me now?? Because there is no excuse to be paid less as merit of your gender, your sexual orientation, your religion, or you race. (3) P.S. This isn’t some study from 1980—this study was conducted in 2012. I actually have this edition of JAMA sitting in my apartment.
AND when women compete for more competitive specialties they have to fight against a culture that has the NYT publishing articles with titles like “Women Leaving Medicine for Home—David Bailer” and “Should Women Be Doctors?—Lisa Belkin”. Both of these articles discuss how women feel they are forced to leave medicine in order to have families—and noting how men leave medicine because they’re tired of medicine (not because they need to raise children). Medicine has created a culture in which women are denied any work-life balance that allows them to be present for their children and they’re forced to leave a career they love in order to do “what is expected of them”. I see a culture that perpetuates the idea that women cannot be both—a work place that denies them the opportunity—and a world in which women disproportionately outnumber men as the one leaving the workplace for families—as broken. Because if the entire culture of medicine is broken to deny a work-life balance then why is it only women and not men who make this choice? Why women who give up their productivity and their careers? Why a world where this is the obvious choice?
WE STILL live in a world where women are told they can’t be surgeons. As noted by Dr. Freischlag in her article for the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine she was told by a chair at UCLA that he “couldn’t give a surgery job to a woman.” Guess when that was? Please guess? 1950? NO. 2002. 2000 and fucking 2. GET IT? This isn’t some Mad Men era of ass-slapping I’m talking about. This is today! (4)
So, yes, I said “fix” because I am “Mrs. Fix-It”. I see something that’s broken and I want to fix it. I don’t want to accept it. I don’t want to nudge it in the right direction. I want to fix it.
Because two generations after my grandmother realized she was being paid LESS than her male secretary, I shouldn’t be living in a world where I could be paid less. I shouldn’t be living in a world that my grandmother fought so hard to change—only to have the system nearly just as broken underneath. So when I see that the glass ceiling is still overhead—it really fucking pisses me off.
And maybe I’m just the granddaughter of a woman who fought to be on a city council that had never allowed women on it in the history of its existence. Maybe I’m the daughter of a woman who was harassed and had to work harder, publish more, and do better than any of the men around her to make it in the world of science. Maybe that’s part of my identity and that’s why I feel how I do—but I call things the way I see them—and right here, right now—I see something really broken and in need of fixing.
So we need to FIX a culture that tells women they can’t be mothers AND surgeons.
We need to FIX a culture that pays women less money for equal work.
We need to FIX a culture that allows women to be harassed, under-promoted, passed over, left behind, and not treated equally.
We need to FIX a culture that tells women they can’t be surgeons—because in my opinion—it’s fucking broken.
References (Note: if you don’t have med school access to medical journals you won’t be able to read most of these in full text but might be able to access the abstracts of some of them).
- Experiencing the Culture of Academic Medicine: Gender Matters, A National Study. Pololi, Linda H. MD., et al. J Gen Internal Med 28(2):201-7.
- Faculty Perceptions of Gender Discrimination and Sexual Harassment in Academic Medicine. Carr, Phyllis L. MD., et al. Annals of Internal Med 200; 132(11):889-896.
- Gender Differences in the Salaries of Physician Researchers Jagsi Reshma MD., et al. JAMA 2012;307(33):2410-2417
- Women Surgeons—Still in a Male Dominated World Freischlag, Julie A., MD. Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine 2008; 81(4): 203-204.
Kay whips out her flaming sword of feminism. Just when I thought she couldn’t be more perfect. <3
For a “noble reason”, my ass. Why don’t YOU leave a profession you love for a “noble reason”, hm? Or are you not planning on contributing 50% to any future childrens’ care? That is what you were insinuating, you see. That women should get less respect, pay, etc. and leave our careers to pop out babies. God it makes me SO MAD.
I would write more to express my approval right now but dammit busy clinic. At any rate, ladykay rocking it. Fuck that patriarchy noise!