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Stanford University School of Medicine

What it is truly like for women doctors: A Stanford resident shares stories of gender in medicine

Sexism is a tough topic to address, and perhaps one of the most challenging things about it is that no two people experience or perceive sexism in quite the same way.

For Stanford psychiatry resident Jessica Gold, MD, sexism seemed largely absent in the world of medicine. "I come from a family of fierce women doctors and have been mentored at every stage of my young career by other powerful and inspiring women," she writes in a recent Huffington Post essay. Women made up nearly half of her medical school class and, "it did not seem like being a woman in medicine was anything different. If anything, it felt like we were taking over."

Then came the New Yorker cover that depicted four female surgeons peering down at an operating table. The cover spawned a social media fervor, generating dialogue on the issue, and (as she puts it) Gold was "repeatedly hit over the head with just how limited [her] own experiences might be."

To learn more about the prevalence of sexism in medicine, Gold reached out on Facebook asking fellow members of physician groups to share their experiences of gender in medicine.

She has received over 500 responses so far, and has assembled a collection of these stories, with more on the way.

"You will read narratives of motherhood, of mentorship, and what makes female physician hood unique." she writes. "You might feel joy, or sadness, or anger, and if if we did our job right, maybe even a little uncomfortable. In the end, I hope by sharing their stories they open your eyes a little more like they did mine."

Previously: Stanford surgery chair Mary Hawn and the changing face of the ORNature issues reminder that "equality in science is a battle still far from won" and What's holding women in the sciences back?.
Photo courtesy of Mary Hawn

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