Feb 25, 2019
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Surgical fields (besides ob-gyn) are male-dominated. Which ones have you found to be the least sexist despite being male-dominated in number?

By sexism I mean:
When female and male medical students are both following the attending (on rounds or in the OR), will he ever make eye contact or direct a verbal response to the female student, or will he spend 99% of the time interacting only with the male student?
Is the female student more likely to be ignored, interrupted, talked over than the male student?
Are the male attendings more likely to actively encourage the male student in terms of giving them research/shadowing opportunities?
Are the male attendings more likely to suggest that the female student look into a more 'lifestyle-friendly' or 'family-friendly' specialty?
Are female attendings more likely to be given the boring/low-level cases the male department chairs don't feel like doing?

Those are some of the things I've seen over the past few months as I've been rotating through surgical subspecialties. Granted I've only mostly had access to my institution, so I'm wondering what you all have seen out there. Are there any surgical specialties where female students encounter less resistance to inclusion?
 

Goro

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:corny::corny::corny::corny::corny::corny::corny:
 

Goro

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managedcarefin

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These questions aren't going to be answered with answers that you are looking for. The world is not fair, unfortunate but that is the way it is. But what you can do, is to do your part to make it better for women that come after you. But yes there are many boys clubs in all fields... including being a physician.
 
OP
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Feb 25, 2019
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These questions aren't going to be answered with answers that you are looking for. The world is not fair, unfortunate but that is the way it is. But what you can do, is to do your part to make it better for women that come after you. But yes there are many boys clubs in all fields... including being a physician.
I think you're absolutely right. I do think that some specialties are making efforts at changing the culture/environment, but it makes sense that some might be making more progress than others. Even if it's just the way it is, I still think it's worth talking about. I'm hoping some female students/residents/attendings from other institutions can chime in with their experiences, good or bad.
 

Dave1980

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When female and male medical students are both following the attending (on rounds or in the OR), will he ever make eye contact or direct a verbal response to the female student, or will he spend 99% of the time interacting only with the male student?
Is the female student more likely to be ignored, interrupted, talked over than the male student?
Are the male attendings more likely to actively encourage the male student in terms of giving them research/shadowing opportunities?
Are the male attendings more likely to suggest that the female student look into a more 'lifestyle-friendly' or 'family-friendly' specialty?
Are female attendings more likely to be given the boring/low-level cases the male department chairs don't feel like doing?
I've never seen anything even remotely approaching the scenarios you are describing. I think you may have inappropriate feelings of being persecuted.

When someone is a jerk to me I think: "That person is being a jerk because they are a jerk".
I suspect when someone is a jerk to you you think: "That person is being a jerk BECAUSE I'M A WOMAN."
 
OP
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Feb 25, 2019
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It's possible I might be growing more sensitive to it after a constant level throughout the year, or it could just be a handful of people at my institution and that's completely unusual. And I might think it was because they are just a jerk if they weren't being perfectly cordial and interacting with the male students at the same time. It might be in my head, though. It could also be that you don't notice it as a male physician (not sure if you're in surgery?). That's part of why I'm hoping for feedback from other females in training.
 
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Chibucks15

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It's possible I might be growing more sensitive to it after a constant level throughout the year. And I might think it was because they are just a jerk if they weren't being perfectly cordial and interacting with the male students at the same time. It might be in my head, though. It could also be that you don't notice it as a male physician (not sure if you're in surgery?). That's part of why I'm hoping for feedback from other females in training.
If its as bad as you say it is, there isn't a way to not notice it. Unless you're a raging a-hole. The majority of the time, in my experience, these types of things are blown out of proportion or not even truly there. Devils advocate here, but sometimes people may be jerks to certain people and not others because of something he/she did, didn't do, etc. But I'm an average white dude so usually I'm told my opinion is wrong and privileged in todays society. Good luck with your search
 
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Feb 25, 2019
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I def don't think your opinion is wrong - I'm just looking to gather some female-in-surgery opinions.

Mods - would it be possible to move this post to the Women in Healthcare forum? Didn't know that existed until just now.
 
OP
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Feb 25, 2019
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It’s absurd to generalize sexism by specialty. There are sexists/racists/specists/ageists/nationalists in every specialty.
Yeah, that would be.

Again, what I'm trying to do is bring out experiences from current/recent female surgical trainees to gather data on levels of equality experienced in different surgical subspecialties at other institutions. Thank you to @raiderette for sharing!
 

nimbus

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Yeah, that would be.

Again, what I'm trying to do is bring out experiences from current/recent female surgical trainees to gather data on levels of equality experienced in different surgical subspecialties at other institutions. Thank you to @raiderette for sharing!

Again it’s dangerous to generalize. During training, I thought cardiothoracic surgeons were dicks because that’s how they were where I trained. Now I work with incredibly kind, caring, respectful ones.
 

Matthew9Thirtyfive

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Moved to Women in Healthcare per the OP's request.
 
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nimbus

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If you were my daughter I would say first find a specialty that really calls to you. Then find female mentors in that specialty and do some research to find programs that have a good track record of graduating female residents. Obviously that would be on top of all the other due diligence required when finding a training program. There is actually a sizable community of female academic surgeons on Twitter. That may be a good place to start.
 

mvenus929

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I mean, Ortho is the only surgical specialty I rotated on where we had an all female OR (attending, chief resident, me, anesthesia, and all the nurses).

I also want to point out that I'm in a pediatric subspecialty and have a couple of sexist attendings in my division. From talking with the female attendings, they aren't as overtly sexist as they used to be, but there is still clearly a difference in the way I'm treated compared to my male co-fellow.

I don’t think you can generalize by specialty so much as institution and culture.
 
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Smurfette

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I'm a general surgeon.

There are sexist individuals everywhere, but they are becoming fewer in number and less overt than in the past. Not all surgeons are sexist, and not all sexists are surgeons. If the OP is at a place where it is rampant, that is a department culture issue, and occurs because the chair and others allow it to happen.

If female students are being ignored, it could be because it is assumed they aren't interested--essentially subconscious bias--rather than a conscious decision to ignore them. That doesn't make it right, but sometimes making it clear you are interested, repeating the question, and trying to actually pursue further conversation can help. I would suggest repeating questions as well--once the other person finishes--if interrupted or talked over, as that can help reinforce that you are trying to be part of the conversation. "Actually, that wasn't my question, although that's good to know. I was wondering about X".

I personally have found that women and non-surgeons are most likely to talk about how surgery is not family friendly and discourage students from pursuing it. I hear that far less from actual surgeons. Just my own anecdotal experience.

As far as giving women lesser cases, I would like to point out that first of all, most people do not work in an academic hospital after finishing training and thus are generally not beholden to their department chair's leadership. Most are beholden to their partners and how their group builds their collective practice. From a personal standpoint, I've never been relegated to low level cases, although often surgeons tend to start off getting undesirable or simple cases while getting established and building a reputation. At my current job, I am the only female and the newest general surgeon to join, but am by far the busiest.
 
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I’m a female orthopaedic surgeon. There’s a lot of talk about how my specialty is sexist. That is BS propaganda unsupported by data (blinded studies of applicants by gender show absolutely zero bias).

My advice to you is the advice I give to every female who asks me these types of questions: “if you were the first woman in the specialty, would you still love it enough to do it? And if yes, why does your original question matter?”

My advice is to do what you like and stop filling your head with inflammatory divisive crap the modern world feeds you. If someone tells you you’re a victim enough, you will change your outlook to view any negative event as a result of being victimized. In the vast majority of cases, it’s untrue. People who want you to be a victim are invested in making you think that way— they are just another special interest group who feed off your perception of victimhood. Assess the person and scenario with your own brain, and see if your opinion of them is justified. They could be a sexist pig. But generally, you’ll find that they’re just a regular run of the mill jerk— or even more likely, a normal human who is having a bad day, going through a divorce or illness or a legal issue, and their actions have zero to do with you.

As a personal anecdote, I have seen the most atrocious behavior from other females, in all specialties. If I told you some of the things I’ve seen in my career (some of which I can never say until maybe I am retired for fear of retribution), your hair would turn white— the things that men do to undermine each other pale in comparison to what women are capable of. But generally, bad people are bad people and they come in all forms.
 

Billyrmd

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Ridiculous to consider in this day and age. Any residual sexism is so minor that if it prevents you from entering the specialty you really like then that is on YOU.
 

LebLlama

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One thing you can do to earn more respect is become familiar with making 3-4 different types of sandwiches and be prepared to offer and make them for your male counterparts during the rotation. Offer to do laundry weekly as well.

However, this of course can work against you if you forget to add the appropriate amount of sauce to the sandwiches, or return clothes wrinkled, so be careful.

I've found that the females on rotations who do a good job on both those things are generally deemed worthy of a few seconds of eye contact.
 

KeikoTanaka

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My mother-in-law is an orthopedic hand surgeon. She has stated she has worked with 3 hand surgeons previously - all females.

So I would say "Dainty little hands" are good for treating "little hands" haha. Just kidding. In all honesty it's a stupid stereotype.... but, honestly, its an amazing subspecialty because not many people pursue it.

She told me at her interview for residency (Back in the late 80s) that she had the interview in a COAT CLOSET. On the wall all around her was female Playboy pornography. They conducted the interview as if none of it existed. Finally at the end pointed to the vagina a foot next to her face and asked "Do you like that?" And she said "Why it's lovely". She got the residency position.

Ortho is a frat-boy's club from everything I've gathered about it... and you'd be expected to work harder than the guys to show you're just as good. That sucks and obviously as a millennial I totally don't agree with it, but at least it makes you an amazing surgeon. You have to be to be accepted.

I would not choose any specialty just because its "less sexist" - I would choose the most sexist and show all of the fragile little boys up.

Good luck.
 

sb247

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My mother-in-law is an orthopedic hand surgeon. She has stated she has worked with 3 hand surgeons previously - all females.

So I would say "Dainty little hands" are good for treating "little hands" haha. Just kidding. In all honesty it's a stupid stereotype.... but, honestly, its an amazing subspecialty because not many people pursue it.

She told me at her interview for residency (Back in the late 80s) that she had the interview in a COAT CLOSET. On the wall all around her was female Playboy pornography. They conducted the interview as if none of it existed. Finally at the end pointed to the vagina a foot next to her face and asked "Do you like that?" And she said "Why it's lovely". She got the residency position.

Ortho is a frat-boy's club from everything I've gathered about it... and you'd be expected to work harder than the guys to show you're just as good. That sucks and obviously as a millennial I totally don't agree with it, but at least it makes you an amazing surgeon. You have to be to be accepted.

I would not choose any specialty just because its "less sexist" - I would choose the most sexist and show all of the fragile little boys up.

Good luck.
it's a little absurd to compare today with a story from 30yrs ago
 

KeikoTanaka

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it's a little absurd to compare today with a story from 30yrs ago
I'm not comparing it to today? But 30 years also isn't a very long time in the grand scheme of things. Those individuals still have a lasting impact im sure as if theyre still practicing (or the people they chose) are now in positions of power, causing downstream ripple effects on culture of a specific specialty/location.

The point of the story was to illustrate that Ortho is traditionally a male dominated field. But the point of the post was to say not to worry about it and fight the patriarchy.
 

sb247

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I'm not comparing it to today? But 30 years also isn't a very long time in the grand scheme of things. Those individuals still have a lasting impact im sure as if theyre still practicing (or the people they chose) are now in positions of power, causing downstream ripple effects on culture of a specific specialty/location.

The point of the story was to illustrate that Ortho is traditionally a male dominated field. But the point of the post was to say not to worry about it and fight the patriarchy.
ok, I get it. Your one of the "patriarchy" folks. nevermind, carry on
 
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Dec 22, 2016
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I'm not comparing it to today? But 30 years also isn't a very long time in the grand scheme of things. Those individuals still have a lasting impact im sure as if theyre still practicing (or the people they chose) are now in positions of power, causing downstream ripple effects on culture of a specific specialty/location.

The point of the story was to illustrate that Ortho is traditionally a male dominated field. But the point of the post was to say not to worry about it and fight the patriarchy.
I’m a female orthopaedic surgeon and if this isn’t a joke, it is a ridiculously dumb take. Just because something is male dominated doesn’t mean it’s sexist.
 
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Dec 22, 2016
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“Ortho is a frat-boy's club from everything I've gathered about it... and you'd be expected to work harder than the guys to show you're just as good. That sucks and obviously as a millennial I totally don't agree with it, but at least it makes you an amazing surgeon. You have to be to be accepted.”

The perpetuation of the above stereotype against my specialty is counterproductive, especially since the data overwhelmingly does not indicate any bias against women in the modern orthopaedic admissions process.