Have you heard the FemInEM podcasts yet? Perhaps you’ve decided that as it stands for ‘Females Working in Emergency Medicine’ and you’re a male there isn’t anything in there for you. Well, I’m a male doctor, I listen to FemInEm, and here are five reason why I think you should listen to them too.
1) To Get a Better View of How the World of Medicine Really Is
As a man I really only get to see the world of medicine from a male perspective. Sure I’m a reasonably intelligent, modern man and I occasionally hear comments from my female colleagues about how they perceive the culture in medicine but is that enough? Just as 360 degree feedback helps us see ourself better, hearing people with a different viewpoint talk about medicine gives us a more rounded, more realistic picture of our professional culture. Spending a regular half hour listening to women talking about the experience of medicine from their perspective is enlightening… and shocking. Is this REALLY how they are treated, how they feel, how medicine is? Apparently so.
2) To Understand and Examine Our Own Part in Creating and Sustaining that Culture
I don’t like to think that I have actively and knowingly behaved in such a way as to create this gender imbalance in medicine. However, I’d have to be naive to believe I haven’t, at the very least, been passively and unknowingly sustaining, propagating and even benefiting from it. Listening to these colleagues talk about the issues created by the behaviours and systems that have grown up in our male dominated profession, helps me to understand my own part in this and realise that perhaps I haven’t been quite as passive or as unknowing as I’d hoped.
3) To Hear How You Can Help Put Things Right… Appropriately
Yes, I know us men think we know how to make it better but if you’ve been paying attention to the first two points you’ll realise that we can’t actually do this third one without listening first… properly! Just as our female colleagues don’t need us to tell them what the problem is, they don’t need us to tell them what the solution is! Stop, listen, think and if it doesn’t make sense to you listen again until it does. Then, start behaving differently.
4) To Experience Being Talked About Generically
This is an odd one and one it took me quite a while to comes to terms with. Often during the podcasts there are references to what ‘men’ do, how ‘men’ talk and why ‘men’ think like that and I want to scream back ‘I don’t do that, I don’t say that and I certainly don’t think like that!’ It has become quite an irritation actually and there is an argument that it is a form of sexism in itself but I’ve actually started to embrace what I am feeling and tried to learn from it. As a white male I’m generally in the majority when behaviours are discussed and usually it is other groups that get talked about generically, so it is quite an experience to find myself reduced to a stereotype. I’m not saying stereotyping is appropriate (I actually find myself relating more to the ‘female’ behaviours described) but to experience it from professional colleagues is as enlightening as it is uncomfortable and forces me to reflect upon how I might be doing the same to others.
5) To Listen to Strong, Supportive and Inspiring Colleagues
Medicine is tough and I am happy to take my support and inspiration from any of my colleagues, regardless of their gender, aren’t you?
So, go on then, click on the link below and have a listen…