Women in Medicine SIG
Slides available upon request firstname.lastname@example.org
The Women in Medicine SIG met on Tuesday morning, May 6, 2014 from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon. There were approximately 25 participants plus the three panelists, Drs. Carol Berkowitz, Tumaini Coker and Alison Holmes. The focus of the session related to the books, "Lean In" by Sheryl Sandberg and "Bossypants" by Tina Fey. The session was entitled: "Leaning in, Leaning out and Leadership: Achieving a Balance".
The SIG opened with an appreciative exercise during which attendees formed dyads, spoke together and then introduced their partner to the entire group, assuring that each attendee met at least one other person as part of the effort to network. The group then broke into smaller groups around each of the tables in the room. Each table included one of the 3 panelists and initially spent about 15 minutes reviewing a single scenario. The scenarios are posted on the APA Women in Medicine SIG Wiki site. The first scenario dealt with the issue of women being asked to run for president of a national pediatric organization. The case presented involved a situation where out of 10 suggested candidates, there was only 1 woman. There was a robust discussion of factors that might influence a woman not to be willing to be interviewed to run for office. These included the absence of role models and fear of rejection. Some attendees described the interview by a nominating committee as intimidating and suggested practice session head of time. Attendees also discussed the issue of being asked specifically because you were a woman (or a minority) and not because of your talents or skill set. Some attendees were willing to accept the "right opportunity" even for the wrong reason. A similar discussion surrounded the scenario related to being asked to serve as Associate Dean of Students, a position that had never been filled by a woman and recently vacated by a popular dean under unclear circumstances. A third scenario dealt with "leaning out", what to do if your daughter wanted to be a Brownie but the only way the troop could meet was if you could serve as a co-leader and the meetings were after school during the week. The comments related to assessing the total commitment, see if there could be alternative times, and if you took on the position, not to give explanations at work. There was a sense that women academicians who left work for family obligations were frowned on whereas men were praised for their family commitment. There was universal agreement that though there was greater sharing of family responsibilities, more of the workload fell on the women. The remainder of the scenarios were discussed by the entire group. There was a discussion about the fall off in the academic pipeline between assistant professor and professor for women. Comments that were made were that women were less attractive as they got older, women in their 50s were grumpy, women didn't get as much administrative support as men and were often expected to do "womanly" things (like make the coffee).
The issue was raised about whether there was still a need for a Women in Medicine SIG, or were the majority of issues resolved. There was a resounding YES to the continuation of the SIG and the following thoughts were aired. We as women need to create a wish list. We need to explore the status of women physicians internationally. We would like longer maternity leave (12 months). We'd like husbands to "lean in" more at home. We sometimes are our own worst enemies. The APA WIM SIG lives on!
Current SIG Chair:
Carol Berkowitz, MD
1000 West Carson Street, Box 437
Torrance, CA 90509-2910
Phone: (310) 222-3091