Whether it concerns the field of films, sports or politics, women have always emerged as trendsetters and are ruling the roost. Girls run the show. Do we know whether women are changing norms, in the medical field?
To answer, this compelling question, a debate was held among doctors present at the Asian EUS Congress 2017 conference. The key proponents of the discussion, Dr Amrita Sethi, Dr Amit Maydeo and Dr Payal Saxena strongly put forth their views on women’s participation in the field. And the opposition team, Dr Nonthalee Pausawasdi, Dr GV Rao and Dr Ida Hilmi countered it
Dr Amrita Sethi, Associate Professor of Medicine, director of Pancreato-biliary endoscopy services, division of Digestive and Liver diseases, Columbia University , New York City, New York, USA said, “Increasing number of women in performing or studying internal medicine in the US is a striking point to show the ceiling is broken , which goes to say that women are coming to the forefront of the field.
Dr Nonthalee Pausawasdi, a renowned endocrinologist and EUS expert from Bangkok, Thailand spoke about gender differences in the area of endoscopy.
“If you look at the population, the gender ratio for every 1,000 men is 940 women. So, women are underrepresented at this time.so at this time, there are some cracks on the ceiling but the ceiling is not yet broken,” she said.
Dr Amit Maydeo, the organising chairman of the conference and the director of Baldota Institute of Digestive Sciences (BIDS), Global Hospital, Mumbai said the number of women gastroenterologists have gone up in India.
“In our country, the Indian mind-set is a little different and that is the reason, why we don’t see too many women as gastroenterologist in India. Because, it is a male dominated society and profession. However, in the last 5 to 10 years, we seen the numbers go up,” he said.
Dr Maydeo further stated that women are bolder than men. “Women are multitaskers and have leadership qualities. The ceiling hasn’t broken but it is breaking now,” he said.
Speaking about the figures, Dr Ida Hilmi, University of Malaya Medical Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia said that only 50 in 166 gastroenterologists are women, among whom 5 or 6 of them are interventional endoscopists, “So, I believe, the ceiling is definitely not broken,” said Dr Hilmi.
Dr Payal Saxena, Gastroenterologist in Randwick, New South Wales, Australia, highlighted that gender inequality is not the problem for women; it is problem for the entire society.
At the session, Dr GV Rao, Director, Chief of surgical gastroenterology, transplantation services and minimally invasive surgery, Asian Institute of Gastroenterology, Hyderabad said, “Breaking the glass is asking for leadership and wanting to be a leader is totally different from wanting to be a part of leadership. Leadership can’t be imposed, it has to be assigned. There are explainable and unexplainable reasons of leadership, which are evidence based.”