Sexual discrimination and harassment affects career choices
- By: Irina Haivas
Exposure to sexual discrimination and sexual harassment in medical school influences students' choice of specialty and later their residency programme ranking, especially for women (Academic Medicine 2005;80:400-8). Terry Stratton and colleagues analysed responses from 1314 students in US medical schools and found that 93% of women and 83% of men experienced, observed, or heard about such incidents during medical school. For a high percentage of women (45%) compared with men (16%), exposure to discrimination and harassment influenced choice of specialty.
“Gender discrimination and sexual harassment are important aspects of negative environments,” Dr Stratton explained. “Since much medical training occurs via mentoring, role modelling, and direct experience, students should be aware that not all behaviours they observe in superiors, peers, or patients are professional, proper, or even legal. Training institutions, too, need to recognise that academic or professional freedoms do not extend to discrimination and harassment based on gender - and