First, we must stop judging women by their demeanor, personality traits or “makeup application” skills. Only when we see women as assertive instead of aggressive, dazzling instead of dominant, and enlightening instead of emotional, will women be able to take their place in the sun.
Why do real-life images of camouflage-clad women soldiers or female surgeons wearing scrubs make us more uncomfortable than the highly sexualized images of fictional women warriors, like Wonder Woman? Are many of us more nervous boarding a plane that will be piloted by a woman than a man? And why hasn’t a woman been elected to the highest office of the land? Does society believe female physicians are less qualified than male physicians?
I will never forget her face. She was only thirteen. She had a significant cognitive disability, a result of a brain injury at birth. She found her way to my clinic one late Friday afternoon in July almost two decades ago. Her mother was a nurse and noticed her daughter had not had a period in the last two months. Her pregnancy test came back positive. I wanted to cry.
Dr. Mary Edward Walker was a female physician who embodied “antagonism.” She is the only female recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor in U.S. history, cited for valor as a surgeon on the Civil War battlefield. She was also an abolitionist, prisoner of war, suffragist, writer and speaker. Two years before her death, the Army revoked her award yet she refused to comply. Her life story is inspiring.
To date, there have only been two female physicians elected to Congress. But in the coming midterm election there are six races with a chance at making history. It’s these battles which could make 2018 “The Year of the Female Physician.”
Is USC defending “bad boys” with little regard for women? Or is there something else going on? One might argue that threatening your subordinate with visa revocation is borderline sociopathic. Are they being protected because they are physicians or simply because they are men?
On National Women Physicians Day, we should honor the courageous women who lighted the way and be mindful of the awesome responsibility of passing the torch to the next generation. The onus is on the medical profession as a whole to foster an environment of encouragement, collaboration, and mutual respect. Looking to the future, it is important to understand our past. Thank you Dr. Blackwell, Dr. Lovejoy, and every medical doctor who continues fighting for equality.
While swiping our credit cards to fund this atrocity known as Maintenance of Certification, maybe your group could take a few moments to streamline your rigid and archaic application process? It is not exactly rocket science or is keeping track of so much money simply too exhausting?