Women Still Aren't Equal in the Workplace

The Evening Standard (London, England), December 1, 2011 | Go to article overview

Women Still Aren't Equal in the Workplace


Byline: Rosamund Urwin

[bar] HE "feminism has gone too far" lobby had a new target yesterday: the medical profession. According to the British Medical Journal female doctors are six years away from outnumbering their male colleagues. Those who would like to see the work of Mrs Pankhurst et al undone complain that "over-feminisation" will damage the profession.

They claim medicine will lose its influence because women are less likely to devote their evenings to networking. But they ignore a greater benefit: safer hospitals as women are less likely to be investigated for clinical errors.

That medicine is no longer a testosterone fest should be celebrated.

When my mother went for an interview at a London medical school 40 years ago, she was asked: "Wouldn't you rather be a nurse?" by the male professor. Nursing is a great career but she dreamed of being -- and had the grades to be -- Henry Gray, not Florence Nightingale.

What is frustrating now is that a female-dominated workforce is immediately assumed to be a problem. Men have had the upper hand in healing since the Hippocratic Oath was penned; why shouldn't it be women's turn? Male doctors hardly need to weep over their stethoscopes: they still earn significantly more than women for working the same hours.

It is strange how angry a few men become at the slightest hint that equality between the sexes is edging closer. …

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