Last night I sat down and went looking for an article a patient of mine told me about. The article, which you can read here, is based around a new study out of Harvard University which found that hospital patients treated by a female doctor had better outcomes for their health than those who had been treated by a male doctor.
The patient who told me about this article said it had a bearing on her decision to choose me over a male surgeon. While she worked in a male-dominated workplace and felt more than comfortable around men in all other walks of life when it came to her body, she felt far more comfortable speaking to a woman about it, and she felt the article added more weight to the argument for her to choose a female practitioner.
Like all studies such as these, I am sure the conclusions can be debated. And whilst I can’t help but be flattered that it was a vehicle to help my patient come to choose me, (don’t get me wrong, I’m very glad she did!) I do find it a surprisingly big call to say that female doctor is essentially better than their male counterparts. It would never argue that being a female alone made me better than another surgeon who happened to be a male. In fact, I have the utmost respect for so many of my male peers who have been brilliant, caring and inspirational mentors to me.
Just like any profession or person, I truly do think it comes down to the individual qualities of the doctor, not their gender.
I feel confident that the reason many of our patients choose my team and I is that we genuinely care, listen, and take the time to really try and understand them, their concerns, and their goals; we’re passionate about and committed to helping them achieve their desired outcomes. Collectively we are empathetic to an understanding of the concerns that both men and women of all ages and walks of life have regarding their faces, bodies, overall appearances, and how these affect our confidence and happiness.
I see these qualities in many male surgeons I have worked alongside too, though!
When choosing a plastic surgeon, doctor or practitioner of any variety, I would always urge everyone to make their choice based on their personal interaction with that person and whether they feel comfortable and understood by them, not just their gender.
Of course, there’s more to that article than just the outcomes by gender; it also goes on to highlight that even today, female doctors continue to be paid around 8% less than their male counterparts.
While I’d never say that my gender makes me a better surgeon, I’d also suggest that in this day and age, any professional’s gender should not be a reason for them to be paid less or more.
I know I’ve been extremely fortunate to have done well in what is a male-dominated field. I also know that it’s because, just like most women out there, I have worked bloody hard to get to where I am today. I’ve been determined to prove to myself and my loved ones that, despite the many hurdles, I can do it. I have not necessarily played it safe and stayed stagnant; I’ve always pushed myself to learn more and develop better ways of doing things while still staying true to myself and my values. I’m sure this is something most other females could say too!
Surely by now, it’s time to start equally recognising people for the hard work they put in and paying everyone based on their skills, dedication and tenacity; not their gender.
Let’s make 2017 the year equality becomes a true reality for everyone, not just a nice ideal!