Sunday, September 30, 2007

A major setback for women in medicine

Earlier this week, a new mom and I'm ashamed to say MD/PhD graduate of Harvard University was granted permission to receive extended breaks for breast feeding. And on many levels, women in medicine for decades in the future, will suffer the consequences of this decision.

And the original article:

The idea of this angered me on too many levels to count and for a variety of reasons, but the main reason was because when thoughts of sliding through the medical training/receiving different treatment in admissions/residency come up, the more than likely poster child for that in the minds of the majority of premeds/med students is the URM with the 3.4 GPA and an 26 MCAT. But this case highlights what every URM on the planet knows, is that the folks receiving the special favors not are not only NOT a URM but are in the majority in both race and socioeconomic status and yeah, I said it.

What I've learned in the 20+ years I've observed medical school admissions is that the number one factor in who can successfully navigate admission to med school and beyond is the person with parents that are Doctors and/or Scientists or one that comes from such a family and information published by AMCAS clearly indicates that this is the case. In addition to that, we all know that being a premed is expensive and a person could easily spend thousands of dollars just getting into med school and that doesn't include living expenses and tuition/fees during the school year! So medicine, ends up being like any other profession like Business or Law where who you are, your SES, and who you're related to, plays a role in your future success. Now let's not get it twisted, I'm not hatin' because I know that having parents who were college graduates I'm sure led to my entrance into and success in college and beyond. But the difference is that I don't try to pretend that my background didn't play a role. However, I think the narcissistic personalities then tend to pursue medicine won't allow them to keep it real in this regard.

So what does all this have to do with the article? It seems to be that slowly but surely we have become a society where entitlement attitudes are very prevalent, a concept most URM's don't understand because it's only in the last 40 years that we've had even basic civil rights. However the Jena 6 situation, tells us something different, but I digress. And like all controversial rules that get changed or bent, the person from the ghetto or rural America is going to be more negatively impacted than the person for the New Your City suburbs in Connecticut simply because they don't have the resources as the woman in the article, to duke it out in a court of law.

The end result, I think is going to be that medical schools and residency directors are going to give second thoughts to admitting women of childbearing age. I met with one of the emeritus faculty members and adcom member at my school, and he was clear that this was going to negatively impact women training to become physicians. Personally, I already see the negative ramifications of women like the one in the article in medicine, who pursue demanding fields like medicine and when they realize they can't dealing with the CHOICES they've made, feel entitled to special treatment with things like extended breastfeeding breaks (how oh how did all the thousands of women BEFORE her manage breastfeeding while taking tests?). The fact is the many professional women successfully handle life and career everyday by simply using good ol common sense, and that poor women do an even better job than with less than half the pay and even fewer perks. Or maybe it's simply that women who work in our grocery stores, fast food chains, and department stores don't deserve to also have extended breaks for breast feeding and that women of means feel entitled to it?

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