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HomeMedical PracticeMore than 90% of British women doctors experienced workplace sexism

More than 90% of British women doctors experienced workplace sexism

A campaign highlighting the sexism, harassment and misogynism endured by female healthcare workers has been launched after a British Medical Association survey showed 91% of women doctors had experienced sexism in the previous two years and 47% had been treated less favourably due to their gender.

The Surviving in Scrubs campaign was initiated by GP Dr Becky Cox and emergency medicine trainee Dr Chelcie Jewitt, whose goal is to increase awareness of this in the healthcare profession.

The 2021 British Medical Association (BMA) survey also found that 56% of women healthcare workers had received unwanted verbal comments relating to their gender and 31% had experienced unwanted physical conduct.

The Surviving in Scrubs website says: “Sexism, sexual harassment and sexual assault are commonplace in the healthcare workforce. Too many of us have witnessed or been subject to it… the female med student asked to stay late lone working with a senior male doctor, being looked over for opportunities at work, unwelcome touching at conferences, comments on your looks… the list goes on.”

Personnel Today reports that stories shared via the website include clinicians receiving unwanted sexual remarks, a lack of support after reporting they had been sexually harassed by a patient, and comments about their sexuality or having a family.

One person said: “Having just reviewed a sick patient … I popped back up to discuss with the consultant on call. He had the rest of the team – more junior doctors around the desk beside him. He told me to sit down next to him and I started to discuss the case. He called me ‘missy’, put his hand on my thigh and slid it up with his thumb on the inside. This would not have happened to a man.”

Dr Latifa Patel, chair of the BMA representative body, said: “When we reported last year that 91% of women doctors have experienced sexism at work, we said that it would take a concerted effort over a long time to eradicate.

“We are grateful to see the Surviving in Scrubs campaign bring that work forward and use the evidence we have gathered to press for more action, and for more people to share their stories.

Professor Colin Melville, medical director and director for education and standards at the General Medical Council said: “The accounts from survivors who were sexually assaulted … is harrowing and appalling and we absolutely condemn such behaviour. There can be no place for misogyny, sexism or any form of sexual harassment in the medical profession.”

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Surviving in Scrubs campaign (Open access)

 

Personnel Today article – Campaign highlights sexism and misogyny in healthcare (Open access)

 

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