Female surgeons like me face harassment and assault every single day

An anonymous female surgeon explains how a culture of misogyny in medicine not only creates a dangerous environment for practitioners but for patients too

Sunday 17 September 2023 15:55 BST
<p>Assault and harassment of female surgeons is the tip of the iceberg</p>

Assault and harassment of female surgeons is the tip of the iceberg

The release of the study into sexual harassment and assault in surgery has caused widespread shock and anger within the medical world and the general public.

However, there was little surprise among female surgeons themselves. With almost two-thirds of female surgeons being the target of sexual harassment and 30 per cent subject to sexual assault, if we haven’t experienced it ourselves then we know of friends and colleagues who have.

As a female surgeon, I was always aware I was entering into a field that was particularly known for its misogyny and hostility towards women. Well-meaning advisers counselled that surgery wasn’t a good job for a woman, that it wasn’t family-friendly, and I was advised I would have to work twice as hard as my male counterparts to get to the same career milestones. I was advised to forget relationships, and that if I had children my career would be effectively over.

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