Women pay the price for gender stereotyping in medicine in many ways – Irish Times


Professor Fionnuala Breathnach, a consultant obstetrician-gynecologist (and specialist in maternal-fetal medicine) at RCSI Rotunda Hospital, Dublin, is witnessing revolutionary improvements in women’s health care. “Obstetrics is a very unique specialty in that it involves pregnancy, a very natural and physiological event,” she says.

“Unfortunately, in the hands of nature, things can go wrong, from embryo formation and development to birth. We can’t come close to fixing it. But in pursuit of the highest research-based standards of care, pregnancy outcomes continue to improve.

“As a junior doctor, I witnessed the poor outcomes of pregnancies that we no longer see. Something will turn out.”

Perceived gender biases within the healthcare system deliberately affect patients. Interestingly, however, research shows that both women and men receive better care from female surgeons. It has been shown that they spend more time with patients, ask questions about their social situation, follow guidelines, and are seen as collaborating with professionals. These are all determinants for improving patient outcomes. Yet, women’s participation and contributions to medicine have been overlooked and sometimes erased.

Women have paid the price for gender stereotyping in medicine in many ways. Gender health disparities have not only impacted the way women receive health care and how women’s health issues are explored, expressed and understood, but gender biases have also impeded progress in women’s medicine. The stigma that still exists in our society can prevent women from pursuing or advancing in medical careers.

Historically, both men and women have been responsible for long-standing patriarchal approaches to health care.

Professor Fionuara Bresnach

Men continue to disproportionately dominate the majority of surgical fields, with the exception of obstetrics and gynecology, where we see a changing gender gap. , report disproportionately few career advancement opportunities. Gender barriers and stereotypes faced by women can limit access to male-dominated professions, as gender gaps in leadership also continue to exist.

Several studies published in leading peer-reviewed journals show that gender bias in science and medicine is pervasive and persistent among faculty and students.Study published in the Journal of Surgical Education We explored the possibility of gendered expectations of female medical residents as a result of implicit or explicit bias. Female residents were found to be rated differently than male residents.

These studies show that sexual bias influences mentorship and sponsorship opportunities, respect, grading, hiring, promotions, awards, and salaries, and sexual harassment continues to be a major barrier. Enacting and pursuing change in health care will lead to better health outcomes through greater retention of women in health care and improved quality of care.

Professor Bresnak said: However, this is steadily starting to change. ”

Gender inequality is caused by many factors. A 2021 study found that gender gaps are driven by individual choices and interests, working conditions, absence of role models and mentorship, institutional policies that make gender gaps more visible, and unintended learning from culture and education. It will be created.

With more women entering this profession than ever before, there is a natural and logical shift in the number of women occupying these roles.

Professor Fionuara Bresnach

Research in this area also suggests that professional programs aim to target gender bias in order to improve scientific equity by clearly identifying the systemic nature of gender bias. Advocated and emphasized. , advocates for more female role models, conducts focused inclusive training, increases professional development and pay transparency, and advocates for professional equity.

“Exactly half of the babies in our delivery room are female,” says Brennak. “We are committed to ensuring that gender equality does not stop there. As they enter the workforce, there is a natural and logical shift in the number of women occupying these roles.”

However, Professor Bresnak recognizes the fact that women often struggle with the conflicting demands of home life and child care.

“The ideal situation is for women to have children long before or long after embarking on the nine to 12-year[postgraduate]training programs required for professional training,” she says. “Unfortunately, nature does not tend to promote such a blueprint.”



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