Science

In the hospital, female doctors still hit the “glass ceiling” – Sciences et Avenir

In the hospital system, where are the women? An ultra-majority among the paramedics, who now outnumber the men on the benches of the medical faculty, they, however, struggle to fulfill high duties due to constant obstacles.

“The health of tomorrow can only be achieved with more women in leadership positions in the hospital,” warns the Donner des ELLES à la santé association, which organized its first national symposium this week at the Necker Hospital in Paris.

However, there is no account, according to data reported by this collective created in 2019 to combat gender disparities in the health care system. Whereas medical students now account for 60% of female students, women make up only 20% of University Hospital Practitioners (PU-PB) and 13% of faculty deans. In a network of 18 regional cancer centers, there is only one female doctor, the director general in Clermont-Ferrand.

According to the Ipsos barometer released in April, 85% of female doctors at the hospital say they have felt discriminated against in their professional careers, and 80% say they have already been victims of sexist behavior.

“All forms of discrimination are interconnected,” says Miriam Dergam, a medical and political science student. And sexism in college fuels future career relapses, says this young woman, who has studied 13 departments. “We were constantly disqualified,” she accuses, denouncing the “carbine spirit” that leads to “women being put in the place of things.”

Later, almost six out of ten women believe that motherhood and family life are obstacles to holding positions of responsibility. Already now, in the context of mentoring, supporting young doctors with more experienced ones, “a man will be offered many more projects than a woman, because this often happens during a career when a woman becomes pregnant,” the doctor laments. Elsa Manna.

– “Everything that is not in the hospital” –

“Men prefer + mentor + men, this should not necessarily be seen as a malice, but it is an initial prejudice,” admits Professor Didier Samuel, president of the Conference of Deans of Medical Faculties.

Neurologist Dr. Mhanna also testifies to the low place women have in speaking at learned society conferences, but also the great difficulty they have in publishing scientific papers. “I was asked to add the name of the co-author with the argument: + you will have a better chance of being published +,” she says.

Another brake definitely not in the health world: “Imposter Syndrome” that many women suffer from who wonder if it’s legal to use them.

What can be done to remove these obstacles? Already “working on benevolence” in management and creating a “favorable working environment” – “that is, everything that is not in the hospital today,” squeaks Dr. Geraldine Pignot, urological surgeon and president of the Donner des ELLES à la sante association.

“I would not talk about positive discrimination, but we need a certain voluntarism,” emphasizes Professor Samuel on behalf of the deans, for whom the observed progress is “clearly insufficient”. Assistance dependent on gender equality, information campaigns, training events… The range of possible measures is wide.

Voluntarism can also run through binding texts. The Sowade Act allowed, from 2017, a rate of 40% for women among those who are first appointed to senior management positions and heads of the civil service … but it does not apply to doctors in charge of departments. or poles.

“There are gaps that we want to sort out,” says Charlotte Cardin-Tailha, adviser to the minister of civil service. In addition to the laws, it will take a profound change in mentality to destroy the “glass ceiling”, says Stanislas Guerini: “This is a cultural battle that we must fight.”

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