Medical Student Creates Shocking List Of Sexism Encountered While Training
A medical student has collated a list of the sexism she encountered while training as a doctor, in a bid to call out the harmful stereotypes that still exist in the industry.
Hannah Yard, a postgraduate medicine student at Cardiff University, claims she was called "blondie" for a week during a medical placement and even told she needed to dye her hair brunette if she wanted to be taken seriously in her profession.
The 24-year-old also says she was constantly mistaken for a nurse during a placement, told to make sandwiches and repeatedly called a "good girl" when she answered questions correctly, noting that there was no equivalent for her male counterparts.
Most shockingly, Hannah claims she was told by a registrar surgeon that "it was nice to finally have something to look at across the operating table."
According to the Royal College of Surgeons, in 2018 women made up just 12.2 per cent of consult surgeons in the UK.
Hannah has completed an undergraduate degree in pharmacology and is currently a postgraduate medical student at Cardiff University, while doing placements at hospitals across Wales.
Hannah compiled the list of sexist incidents in a Twitter thread, using the popular #everydaysexism hashtag.
She wrote: "#everydaysexism is medicine" before sharing "a thread of comments myself and my close friends have received whilst being medical students".
One of the examples the trainee doctor tweeted was: "In response to answering a question 'oh good girl' on multiple occasions. Surprisingly never heard 'good boy' being used for any of my male colleagues."
She also tweeted: "After introducing myself on the ward round as a medical student assigned to the team for the day 'she must be here to make the sandwiches' - huge laughs from the all male team".
"That made me want to cry," Hannah said. "I was only 21 and being laughed at by a big group of men."
As part of the thread, the student said she was "being referred to as a nurse, by doctors and patients, even after introducing myself as a student doctor, on an almost weekly basis".
More Like ThisMore Like This
Referring to her time in trauma and orthopaedic surgery, Hannah recalled: "Whole team of T&O surgeons referring to me as 'Blondie' for a week long placement."
Hannah also claimed that while at an open day at University of Bristol in 2013, she was advised to dye her blonde hair brunette by a tutor.
She said: "When I asked what he meant, he said that to be taken seriously in medicine I probably needed to dye my hair brunette. I was shocked, I couldn't believe someone would say that to me."
Hannah finished her thread by tweeting: "Sexism in medicine is still very much an issue, and something that shouldn't just be accepted as 'a joke'."
"If someone on the street spoke to me like that, I would always call them out," she said.
"But when I'm on placement there's no way I would in case it affected my career. Doctors wouldn't let you shadow them if you spoke back.
The student finished by saying: "The older generations need to be educated that this behaviour just isn't acceptable. It's not just students that have to put up with this, but members of hospital staff, too."
The British Medical Association responded by saying: "All sexist or abusive behaviour is wholly unacceptable in the modern medical workplace and should not be tolerated - it is frankly unjust.
"For medical students, being exposed to such outdated and disrespectful attitudes can have a profoundly negative effect not just on their wellbeing and mental health, but on the way they view the profession they are about to enter.
They go on: "With women still underrepresented in medicine, we cannot allow such behaviour to deter talented female medics from pursuing careers as doctors."
"Sexist, disrespectful and discriminatory behaviour must not be tolerated, and employers, educators and professional bodies all have a role to play in ensuring it is stamped out."
Featured Image Credit: Supplied/ Hannah Yard