» January 8th 2019:

The sexism in surgery is shocking – from colleagues and patients | Daniella Donato-Brown

More diversity is needed in every way. Hopefully those changes are starting to be made

• Daniella Donato-Brown is a general surgery registrarIn 2016 58% of people applying to medicine and dentistry courses were women. However, according to the Royal College of Surgeons of England, only about 12% of consultant surgeons in 2018 were women. Why? A small survey in the BMJ medical journal points to the level of discrimination. As a general surgical trainee, I have been shocked by the experiences reported by some female colleagues. The discrepancy in the number of women applying to medicine and those going on to become consultant surgeons can partly be explained by the higher dropout rate. Could inherent gender discrimination within surgery itself play a part in that?Female colleagues with children have struggled to be accepted and are seen as less than full-time surgeons, despite working similar hours in hospital to those surgeons with part-time hospital and research commitments. A female surgeon returning from maternity leave didn’t dare tell colleagues that she had a 10-month-old baby at home, fearing that she would be viewed as lacking “commitment to speciality”. Female surgeons are continually asked about their family plans. I was even asked at an international conference if colorectal surgery would be the correct career path if I plan to have children. These aren’t challenges that are unique to surgery – or to women, with more men taking longer paternity leave – yet the stigma seems more entrenched in surgery than other specialities. Continue reading...

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