Prior to embarking on my career in medicine, I studied drama. As an impressionable undergraduate, I had a brilliant acting teacher named Doug, who taught all his female students to call themselves “actors” rather than “actresses.” He thought that gender specific titles within a profession bred sexism. “After all,” he would say, “a female doctor isn’t a doctress.”
Doug’s words have stayed with me as I have transitioned to my life as an emergency medicine physician. He was right of course, male or female, we all are “doctors.” We have undergone the same schooling and carry the same responsibilities and privileges of patient care. But despite the gender-neutral title, medicine is not a gender blind profession. The gender pay gap is alive and well, and according to statistics from the AAMC, while 47% of medical students are female, only 21% of full professors and only 15% of department chairs are female.
As a resident, my life is full of growth and change. It is a struggle and a thrilling challenge. I am learning constantly, both about how to be the physician I want to be, but also how to be the woman I want to be. What kind of life do I envision for myself? What do I want my family to look like? My career? To face these questions alone could be overwhelming, but I have had the good fortune of finding amazing women to mentor me. My residency program is full of strong female mentors and role models I can turn to with my questions and concerns. Through them, I have discovered how incredibly important a network of women can be.
Here is where you come in. Welcome to FemInEM. We are a group of like-minded women practicing emergency medicine in academia, communities and beyond. Our goal is to provide resources and guidance for women in all stages of life and career, to bring together mentors and mentees, and to foster a community of support.
Explore the site to find posts written by women and for women on topics including work-life balance, career advancement, motherhood and more. On a regular basis, we will be bringing new content so be sure to return frequently to see what your fellow FemInEMs are thinking about. In addition, we want to know what you are thinking! A link near the bottom of the page, Write for FemInEM, will bring you to our submission form. We want to hear your voice!
We have gathered together links to recommended websites including professional organizations, professional development resources and even some emergency medicine FOAM favorites. Additionally, we have collected important resources including official policy statements affecting our lives as women in emergency medicine.
The FemInEM website will be your resource for educational and entertaining content, but it is not the only way to connect to other FemInEMs. Feel free to email us with your questions or concerns at [email protected] and follow us on Twitter @feminemtweets. Lastly, we can send you a digest of new FemInEM content weekly if you click our sign up button on the left tool bar or follow this link. Our goal is community building. If you reach out to us, we will reach back!
Working in any ED has its challenges and we know our individual journeys are unique—however, as a community we will have both a voice and some sanity. Balancing families, friends, careers and wellness is hard, however, with collaboration and support, we will all survive…and thrive!