David Fuentes, 25, a student in the masters entry clinical nurse program at UCLA, makes the rounds with registered nurses Pamela Helms, center, and Heather Alfano at the UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, California, in April 2013. Although the nursing field is dominated by women, the number of men is increasing. 

It is no secret that there are wage gaps between men and women, but sexism does not stop at compensation. It's also happening in the medical field and how doctors are choosing to treat their patients who are women.

Not only are women’s issues not taken as seriously in many medical rooms, women have not always been able to take part in early-phase drug trials, which can affect how medicine is being distributed among women, as well as the effectiveness of such drugs.

Until 1993, the United States Food and Drug Administration prohibited all women of childbearing age to take part in clinical trials because of possible adverse effects on their future offspring, and researchers found it was easier to study on men than women. Researchers claimed women have too many hormonal states and cycles, which makes it more difficult to test variations of medicines. Researchers also claimed women are less likely to be tested on because men are less aware of health problems than women and do not notice symptoms as often, which leads to lack of doctor visitations.

Although the stereotype is that women are more likely to go visit the doctor than men, not testing women excluded how certain medicine affects women and can cause serious damage.

All of these issues come from the lack of women represented in the medical field. Lack of gender diversity in the medical field causes issues that are not fixed because there are not enough women to talk about the issue and how it is affecting women across the nation.

According to research done by the American Heart Association, “only 39 percent of women who have a cardiac arrest in a public place were given CPR, versus 45 percent of men. Men were 23 percent more likely to survive and one of the study leaders, Benjamin Abella, speculated that rescuers may worry about moving a woman’s clothing, or touching her breasts. One idea mooted was more realistic-looking practice mannequins to account for the female torso.”

There are more women in medicine than ever before, but women still experience 30 to 70 percent of female med-school students will experience gender-based discrimination. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, “Of the 294 survival department chairs across U.S. medical school, only one percent are women and 22 percent are full-time professors.”

If more women were represented in the medical field, more women would also be represented in the research medical field. Women in the medical field could have the opportunity to speak out against the discrimination women face when it comes to the distribution of medicine and how it is being tested.

Gender discrimination in society is an issue that must be enforced and taken care of so women do not feel they are not receiving the adequate health care they deserve.

Since more women are studying medicine than ever before, this is important to make change in the research and career field for medicine. With more gender diversity, there will be more women to speak out against discrimination and more will be done to make sure women are a part of research to ensure it is safe.

Editorial policy is determined by the student editor, and views expressed in editorials are those of the majority of The Vidette’s Editorial Board. Columns that carry bylines are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Vidette or the University.


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