Women who inspire women – The European Sting – Critical News & Insights on European Politics, Economy, Foreign Affairs, Business & Technology
This article was written exclusively for The European Sting by Ms. Gabriella Caroline Andrioni, a twenty-year-old woman and a third-year medical student at the Federal University of Mato Grosso (UFMT), inside Brazil. It is affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA), a cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this article are strictly the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of IFMSA on the subject, nor of The European Sting.
The Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations make gender equality one of the main needs for 2030. In the field of health, changes have already been noted by what is called the “feminization of women”. Medicine “. Medical education has undergone a transition over the past decade, and the number of trained female physicians has almost exceeded that of male physicians in some regions. The distribution of women is higher among the youngest, showing a future for more equal positions in medicine (1,2,3). Although this process of feminization is a step towards equality, it also leads to discussing the gender inequalities that still exist in the medical environment.
Women represent around 75% of the health workforce, but still represent lower management (4). They are in the minority in leadership positions and only a quarter of health ministers are women. This takes a more prominent place in Brazil, where there have already been four men in the role of Minister of Health during the pandemic and women represent more than 65% of the front line in the fight against Covid-19 ( 5).
Women are also less present in training specialties, such as surgery. While the first option for recently graduated women for medical residency is pediatrics, the first option for men is general surgery, reflecting the gender pay gap (2). The same division of knowledge is found in medical science. Less than 30% of researchers in the world are women and we are 45% in Latin America (6).
Gender equality has the potential to lead to substantial health, social and economic gains. Mixed workplaces have improved productivity, decision-making and satisfaction, and women in the medical workforce could improve patient outcomes. There is new evidence of differences in the way women physicians practice, leading to decreased patient morbidity and mortality (6). And the changes brought about by the narrowing gender gap in medicine extend beyond health. The representation of women in the most diverse places, including in leadership positions, inspires young women who do not yet have a defined future.
There is still a long way to go and structural changes must be made. Beyond gender equality in medicine, we must strive for a social and cultural transformation that enables the growth of women in the world and in all settings. Sustainable development needs it.
- (2018). Discussion paper on gender and equity in the draft consultative report on health and social service personnel (Work in progress). Retrieved from the World Health Organization website: https://www.who.int/hrh/news/2018/GEHworking_paper-ZeroDraft2.pdf?ua=1
- Ávila, RC (2014). Formação das mulheres nas escolas de medicina. Revista Brasileira de Educação Médica, 38 (1), 142-149. https://doi.org/10.1590/s0100-55022014000100019
- Faculty of Medicine of the University of São Paulo, Conselho Federal de Medicina, Conselho Regional de Medicina do Estado de São Paulo Cremesp. (2018). Demografia Médica no Brasil 2018. Retrieved from http://www.flip3d.com.br/web/pub/cfm/index10/?numero=15&edicao=4278
- WHO. “GHO | By category | Distribution by sex of health workers ”. Accessed July 21, 2020. https://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.HWFGRP_BYSEX?lang=en
- Meirelles, A. (2021). Mulheres são maioria na linha de frente do combate to Covid-19. Retrieved March 20, 2021 from CNN Brasil website: https://www.cnnbrasil.com.br/saude/2021/03/09/mulheres-sao-maioria-na-linha-de-frente-do-combate -a -covid19
- Shannon, G., Jansen, M., Williams, K., Cáceres, C., Motta, A., Odhiambo, A., Eleveld, A., & Mannell, J. (2019). Gender Equality in Science, Medicine and Global Health: Where Do We Stand and Why Does It Matter? The Lancet, 393(10171), 560-569. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(18)33135-0
About the Author
Gabriella Caroline Andrioni is a twenty-year-old woman and a third-year medical student at the Federal University of Mato Grosso (UFMT), in the interior of Brazil. She participates in IFMSA Brazil and is the national coordinator of the non-discriminatory access to health program. She is made of curiosity and touched by sensitivity in social relationships. For this reason, participate in every college extension she can find and always take the time to research between classes. She believes in a universal, free and quality health system and seeks it.