By Millennial In Medicine
Ira M. - M.D./P.h.D Candidate
Medicine was known as a male-dominated field, but recent data shows that women represent 50.7% of incoming medical students in an academic year. Although this is progress, it is worthy to note that the nature, the environment, the ideologies along with values, beliefs, and practices in medical schools are still very stereotypically male-oriented. In other words, gender bias STILL exists despite the statistics of enrollment.
Before making my decision to medicine, I decided to do research in gyn-onc to really see if I wanted to take that course. It was my first exposure to academic medicine-an exposure that wounded me by silencing me. It’s unfortunate that we have this dehumanizing organizational culture in academic medicine that doesn’t allow people to realize their full potential or be productive as they can be. I found myself funding my own trips to conferences, improvising with scare resources, and learned to use my voice unapologetically about my ideas, my feelings, my opinions, and my demands. It’s scary, especially if you’re not in a high position professionally. But you know what? All institutions have biases. Instead of victimizing yourself and labeling yourself according to social norms imposed, why not push boundaries, challenge the status quo, share your resources, work to create an environment that is brave, and hold yourself to the highest standard. Use your voice, find the right mentors for you, and uplift each other. As a woman, as a woman of color, as a medical student, a former refugee, as a health advocate and demander of equity, I want to share one thing—and this is from the late Reginald Lewis: “Keep going, no matter what.”