Research Project (to be discussed at the Winter Academy) by Marwa Schumann.
Marwa Schumann works as an instructor at the medical education department, faculty of medicine of the Alexandria University. She is currently researching gender inequalities in medical education.
Feminizations of medicine and gender inequality are paradoxical factors with an increasing influence on the field of surgery in general and orthopedic surgery in particular. The increased number of female medical students and graduates has led to a paradoxical shortage of orthopedic surgery residents; only a very small proportion of female graduates choose to become orthopedic surgeons. Reasons included female disinterest in orthopedics, the long working hours, increased physical demands, male domination and male nature of the field causing biases and stereotypes about and against women. Female exposure to negative attitudes discouraging them from choosing a specific “male-dominated” career show how education can function as means of reinforcing social and gender inequalities rather than correcting them.
Main objectives of the research are to determine the gender influences on access to education and training of interns, to explore the motivations and expectations of a female intern training in the orthopedic surgery department and to explore the challenges facing the first female intern choosing orthopedic surgery training.
This is a qualitative study carried out within the framework of a narrative inquiry methodology where data is generated in the form of stories. It is situated in constructivist epistemology where knowledge is “socially constructed”. Purposeful sampling was carried out to conduct semi- structured interviews with the first female intern training in the orthopedic surgery department to explore her motivation, expectations, preparation and challenges she faced to get the approval for orthopedic training. A focus group discussion is chosen to elicit the attitudes of peers. Interviews and focus group discussions will be audio-recorded, transcribed, translated and analyzed.
Gender issues seem to affect the training and learning experience of house officers in general and those training in the surgery departments in particular. Sexism and negative attitudes towards women working as physicians in general and as surgeons in specific, act as barriers against achieving expected skills and competences. The hidden curriculum plays an important role in gender discrimination. Negative effects of gender discrimination among house officers extend beyond de-motivation of trainees and limiting the career choices to affect the quality and safety of healthcare provided. Equal training opportunities should be provided to medical interns regardless their gender.