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There Is Hierarchy Embedded In Hierarchy: The Medical Edition

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

Whenever I would tell people I am interested in becoming a physician, I would get one of two responses and at times even both. One being, “Well, don’t you want to have a family in the future?” and the other being, “Oh so you want to become an OB/GYN or go into pediatrics right?” The answer to the first question is yes, I do want a family- I can have both. My answer to the second is no; just because I want to get into medicine does not mean I want to go to the specialists that pertain to motherhood. Despite this, women are still looked down upon for going into STEM or medicine. There is a clear gender hierarchy already, but the hierarchy does not end there. 

pink stethoscope
Photo by Christopher Boswell from Unsplash

In medicine, there are different specializations and among these specializations there is a hierarchy. OB/GYN and pediatrics are seen to typically include female doctors, while the “jocks” of medicine are the surgeons. In other words, every specialization has its own reputation, despite them all being necessary and difficult to work in. The power struggle becomes evident. For instance, surgeons feel like they run the place because their speciality is perceived as the most difficult due to the length of its training and need to act quickly while cutting a body open, while dermatology seems relaxing despite the fact that it is one of the most competitive specialities to get into. 

The future is female
Photo by Lindsey LaMont from Unsplash

This is an ideology that has had a long-lasting imprint on every societal aspect of our community, including medicine. It is the structure built and maintained by privileged white males, but it is time to dismantle the inner and outer hierarchies. There is no need to have an evident power struggle between women and men in STEM, as well as in other fields, and between medical fields. 

Yasmin is a second year student at UCLA. She is majoring in Psychobiology and minoring in Global Health. Other than being involved in Her Campus, she does research at the Semel Institute in Los Angeles and is a member of Flying Sams. She loves reading, binge watching Netflix shows, and painting (even though she isn't great).
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