Although there's no "right" way to respond to sexism, we could all take a cue from #LikeALadyDoc and #PinkWednesday, the hashtags firing back at sexism in healthcare. Any time women enter a workforce in large numbers, the profession quickly begins to lose status in the eyes of the public, and unfortunately, this trend has held true even in 2016. As more and more women earn the title of doctor, some people still cling to the belief that women can't handle the stress of the position — or, according to a columnist for The Sunday Times, that the influx of female doctors are responsible for widespread problems in the British healthcare system.
The opinion piece, titled "The One Sex Change on the NHS That Nobody Has Been Talking About," posits that female doctors simply don't value their careers as much as men. Rather, Conservative journalist Dominic Lawson claims that women put their desire for families before their jobs, whether that manifests in part-time work or seeking to avoid "'antisocial hours' that interfere with family life — an institution to which men tend to pay homage but that women are actually more likely to put ahead of their career." This supposed "feminisation of medicine," Lawson argues, has led to the current problems facing the NHS today, including junior doctor strikes.
Needless to say, the doctors in question were taken aback by Lawson's piece, and both men and women alike took to Twitter to poke fun at the idea on Sunday. Since then, the results have turned out to be hilarious, on-point, and everything in between.
Initially, users posted under #LikeALadyDoc, but Dr. Roshana Mehdian encouraged other doctors wear pink on Wednesday to support women in healthcare. Thus, #PinkWednesday was born.
Most posts stick to sarcasm, but others make a point of flaunting their femininity, bringing up an excellent point: Doctors may have largely been men in the past, but that's simply untrue these days. However, as is the case in most male-dominated workplaces, women are still expected to distance themselves from traditionally feminine characteristics for fear of not being taken seriously. Not only is this harmful to both genders — it demands that men be paragons of masculinity as well — but it also makes it clear how hard women have to fight to join spaces where they're not welcome.
#PinkWednesday in particular highlights this, but it also shows how lucky we are that women out there fight to be doctors even in the face of sexism, and that so many of their male co-workers support them.
It doesn't matter if a doctor is wearing MAC lipstick or has never touched makeup in their life, or whether they're outfitted in pink, glittery scrubs or traditional blue ones. In short, it doesn't matter whether a doctor is a man, woman, or somewhere in between — what matters is that they know what they're doing.