June 16, 2016 1 Comment
Dawn and I have a shared background in sports medicine, but she brings a unique perspective to today’s post: she is a woman, she is young, and she is still in training. I am none of these things!
If sports is a mirror of society, then it should come as no surprise that in our own professional world we may see phenomena such as gender bias. And for those of us who benefit from male privilege (me), Dawn’s post is a great reminder of the differential burden our female colleagues may face when trying to perform the same job duties as a man.
Here in the USA, 2016 is a particularly poignant moment in time: the Democratic party’s presumptive candidate for president is Hillary Clinton. Will that political ‘glass ceiling’ be shattered? What of our sports medicine colleagues who are women? Do they face their own glass ceilings?
I cede the dais to Dawn:
DT: It’s 1.30am on a Tuesday morning and I am wide awake. Ideas, thoughts, concepts are racing through my mind at a rate I could only dream of during normal hours. I don’t normally suffer with insomnia but I have just completed a particularly gruelling acute medical block whereby in 4 months I have worked 8 full weekends and a total of 32 nights. So as you can see my body clock is totally up the spout. There have been times when I have wondered why I chose this profession and how compatible it is with any sort of family or social life and times when I have marveled at what I feel can be the best ‘job’ in the world.
During these 4 months, Junior Doctors like myself across Britain have taken part in 6 days of industrial action in response to the proposed imposition of a contract they felt to be unsafe and unfair to patients, themselves and the NHS. One of the many complaints with regards to the new contract was the impact it could potentially have on women taking time out for maternity or to work less than full-time to raise a family. Indeed the governments own equality analysis summarised –
“While there are features of the new contract that impact disproportionately on women, of which some we expect to be advantageous and others disadvantageous, we do not consider that this would amount to indirect discrimination as the impacts can be comfortably justified”
I have never particularly considered myself a feminist but I do expect a fair contract and I don’t expect to be treated any differently to my male counterparts based on gender rather than clinical acumen.
Data derived from the Health and Social Care Annual Workforce Publication 2014 showed that 57% of all doctors in training are female. However things have not always been this way, in 1985 the year I was born, women made up only 16% of practicing doctors in the US. Some junior doctors are concerned that an unfair contract would send us backwards in terms of women in Medicine. Already prior to this new proposed contract, pay inequalities exist in medicine. A study published this week in the BMJ concluded that women doctors in the US earn less than their male counterparts even after adjusting for hours of work and specialty.
So what about the role of women in Sports Medicine? Read more of this post