Sexual Harassment and Discrimination

Posted on

We are looking today at data from Medical Schools reporting women students have experienced the same kinds of abuse and harassment being reported in most social systems.


In today’s Healthcast we are looking at the issue of power within systems. Historically those systems have been male dominated. That is beginning to change but we believe not fast enough. When 51% of the American population is female and more and more of them work outside the home we need to look at the issue of power distribution and the issue of sexual harassment. Not all sexual harassment is about sex. Some of it is about women not being able to participate on an equal footing irrespective of their skills and talents. Think about the concept of the glass ceiling, if there is a male only golf course and a woman executive misses the opportunity to play a round of golf where business will be discussed and sales or promotions will be decided upon then she has been compromised in her ability to compete simply because she is female and was not allowed to play the round of golf. Many of you might not think that is anything bad, but it absolutely slants the business world in favor of the males.

If your daughter wants a career in the military then she needs to know that the military is rife with sexual abuse. The process of trying to complain about such abuse is restricted to the chain of command and most of that is male and most of it is slanted in terms of “protecting” the pilot or the officer who has invested his career in the military. The judgments are often made in terms of “mission” and the ability to achieve the mission and not in terms of fairness or justice for the female who was harassed. Our politicians and military leaders are trying to address this, but the risks for females to be abused and ignored is still unacceptably high.

We chose to look at some research from the medical profession to see if the playing field is more balanced. Interestingly enough, progress has been made in the last thirty years, but again not enough and not fast enough. Lets look at some data we found from a survey of physicians who were receiving awards for their success in practice and innovation. These doctors were asked about their experience of sexual harassment in med school.

They were asked to rate their experience in one of five categories.

  1. generalized sexist remarks and behaviors
  2. inappropriate sexual advances
  3. subtle bribery to engage in sexual behaviors
  4. threats to engage in sexual behavior
  5. coercive advances

The responses to these questions were all self report and self perception. We therefore cannot use them as absolute measures of reality because there is no objective data here, only subjective. Nevertheless it is indicative of a problem that exists in a field dominated by male power structures that so many women, in this case actual physicians who have perceived this level of unfairness and abuse.

As you will hear in the Healthcast, Dr. Maupin experienced some of these behaviors when she was in medical school thirty years ago, and her daughter, who is a physician, reports that things have changed a great deal in those thirty years.

We decided to do a podcast on this topic to stress the importance of the need for cultural change and for sensitivity. If you have wives, lovers, daughters you should care about the importance of this topic and the potential risks of harm that these women face in today’s world.

This Health cast was written and presented by Dr. Kathy Maupin, M.D., Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Expert and Author, with Brett Newcomb, MA., LPC., Family Counselor, Presenter and Author.

Related Post: