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Coda Ethics: Conversation 1

Is sexism in healthcare subtle or overt? – The answer is both!

Dr Kate Ahmad shares her experiences training in medicine. Women are frequently not recognised as doctors because of their gender and they are more likely to have comments made about their appearance or questions about their relationship status…

These examples are subtle, undermining the position of a woman as a doctor. At the same time there are often far more confronting examples of overt sexism.

We need better systems for calling this out and we need to protect the women who come forward. We also need to ensure that bystanders come forward and don’t keep their mouths shut. This needs to be called out in public.

Women enter medicine at the same rate as men but their ascension up the career ladder is far from equal. This is because of sexism, a system set up by men for men and unequal family responsibilities which is a societal problem.

Female patients often chose a female specialist and there is some evidence that female patients have better outcomes when treated by a female doctor.

Kate Ahmad

Kate Ahmad is a Neurologist and Director of Physician Training at Royal North Shore Hospital.  She also runs clinics out of the Sydney Adventist Hospital and Gordon Eye surgery.  She researches genetic neurological and eye disorders.

In an education role, Kate strongly supports the advancement of women, and is Vice President of the RNSH Women’s Society and founding member of the Australian chapter of Women Speakers in Healthcare.  She ventures into environmental and social justice activism with petitions, article writing and fundraising, and spends nearly all her free time photographing marine life at Sydney beaches or hanging out with her husband and 4 kids.