Challenges for women in surgery

29 Dec 2022


By: Shiona Maria Benedict Fernandes

“You will get married soon in the future. How will you be able to manage your family and your work life, if you choose this hectic lifestyle that surgery puts you through?” asked my mother back in 2020 when I had decided to tell her that being a surgeon was my dream. In addition to social   deterrents, with women in surgery have also faced sexual harassment. Which has frequently gone unreported and and a well documented pay gap

It has been shown that lack of financial rewards and career advancement opportunities are two of the top challenges for female surgeons. In my opinion, medical schools and programs like AWS should create grants or scholarships for trans woman residents too. As to support their masters or research in surgery to encourage all women to continue their passion in surgery. 

The data is taken from Women in Surgery Italia: National Survey Assessing Gender-Related Challenges *

According to the Royal College of Surgeons of England, the ratio of men and women in the field of surgery in the UK is 8:1, which is a significant gap. So how do we encourage women to become surgeons? By being a role model to them. It is reported that female medical students have a lack of female role models in surgery to look up to. Also creating awareness programs for young girls in medical schools and inviting senior  female surgeons to share their experience in surgery and how they tackled the problems they faced during their journey are effective ways of encouraging women to take up surgery. Moreover, medical schools and hospitals can help in reducing the gender gap by developing policies on issues like discrimination and harassment. 

My final words for young female medical students and residents is don’t let anyone discourage you from becoming what you want. If a potato can be a vodka then you can be a doctor. Yes, it’s not an easy journey but believe in yourself

Information about the author

Hello guys, I’m Shiona Maria Benedict Fernandes from Tbilisi. I’m in my 3rd year of medical school. My field of interest is orthopedics. In my free time, I watch anime and write blogs for medical organizations. My instagram id is konnichiwa_shiona. 

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