Chapter 24.doc

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Women's and Gender Studies
Anissa Talahite- Moodley

Chapter 24: Inequities and Everyday Inequalities: ‘Race’, Gender, Sexuality, and Class in Medical School - Linda Grant suggests that who you are when you enter medicine affects the extent to which you ‘fit in’ during medical school - she argues that all schools have their own ‘latent culture’, which dictates the boundaries of appropriate behaviour: ‘Those who share latent culture have a sense of belonging; those who do not may feel alienated and marginal’ - studies have documented ‘micro inequities’ based in gender, including gender-exclusive language, absence of parental leave policies, gender-biased illustrations in medical texts, sexist jokes in class and at school social events, male students being called doctor while women are not, women being mistaken for nurses, being called ‘girls’, being ignored by instructors - taken together all of these factors lead to a gendered climate in medical school that may cause women to feel less welcome, more marginal - recent investigations into the impact of sexual orientation in medical school suggest that homophobic attitudes are as prevalent among medical students and faculty members as in the general population - thus students who identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual may feel more marginalized in medical school than do heterosexually-identified students - most medical schools today have an institutional commitment to equality, which has led to the reduction or eradication of overt discrimination in admissions and to the establishment of policies and procedures to address harassment and discrimination - even in the absence of blatant discrimination, however, an institution may have an overall climate that welcomes some participants more than others Everyday Inequalities and Micro Inequities - the notion of everyday inequalities is useful for understanding the micro-level processes through which inequities of racism, sexism, heterosexism, and classism are experienced and perpetuated in Canadian society, where most citizens express commitment to democratic principles of justice, equality, tolerance, and fairness Everyday Racism - in interviews, both faculty and students generally indicated that ‘race’ and racism really are not issues in medical school - racialized minority students were slightly more likely than others to agree that ‘race’ affects how students are treated by other medical staff, and that it affects the degree of respect from patients Everyday Sexism - neither male nor female students, on average, thought gender had much impact on their experiences of medical school, although the day-to-day importance of gender was greatest for women - far more subtle is the impact of an overall gendered climate, a series of gendered assumptions and expectations that can make life in medical school more comfortable and inviting for male students - this assumption that doctors are male may be reinforced by the fact that women students are less likely to be called doctor by other health care staff or by patients - both students and faculty reported that women students and clinicians are still frequently mistaken for nurses - constructing a professional appearance is another key element of medical socialization, and one that is highly gendered - in the interviews, both women students and clinicians talked about dressing to earn respect; deliberately constructing an image that conveys desired messages - in contrast, the men took this for granted − women were underrepresented among those considering anesthesiology, surgery, and internal medicine, all highly paid specialties − women were over-represented among those considering obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry, family medicine, and pediatrics, some of the l
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