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A woman’s place is in theatre: women’s perceptions and experiences of working in surgery from the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland women in surgery working group
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  • Published on:
    #She looks like a surgeon
    • Emma Pedlar, Core Surgical Trainee T&O Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust

    As an aspiring female plastic surgeon, this article makes compelling reading. Many of the experiences and options highlighted are representative of my experience so far in pursuing a surgical career. As with 88% of respondents I also feel that surgery is a male dominated career and have experienced discrimination. In F1, my general surgical consultant scoffed at my intention to become a surgeon and when I looked indignant called me a "difficult woman" accompanied by sniggers from the male registrar. More often it is patients who do not recognise me as a surgeon, being routinely addressed as nurse or asking when they were going to see the doctor despite introducing myself or whilst wearing a lanyard with DOCTOR written all over it. Even other doctors have assumed that the plastic surgeon will be a male, for example addressing referral letters ‘dear sir’. I have found it frustrating that my male colleagues do not experience the same attitude, and felt pressure to prove myself as good as the men.

    However there have been several encouragements for me as a trainee surgeon. Despite some of the comments of consultants in my foundation years, the vast majority of consultants in Core Surgical Training have been supportive and I haven't felt disadvantaged compared to my male counterparts. The British Association of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons (BAPRAS) has recently launched a pilot project called the Juggling Club. This initiative has been introduced by...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.