Why do women gastroenterologists avoid the Internet?|
I have climbed onto the Personal View to respond to an email of complaint. Kim E. Barrett, Professor of Medicine at San Diego, USA sent me a nice message of congratulations about GastroHep.com but, very appropriately, complained that we have no women members on any of our Editorial Boards, and only a few on our Global Faculty.
Let me explain the situation. We did invite three women to join an Editorial Board, and all refused. Almost all the invited men accepted.
We invited several hundred people to join the Global Academic Faculty - quite a few women accepted, but an equal number refused. About 200 men accepted, but about 20 refused.
So why do women appear to avoid joining this type of publishing venture?
My wife, a Professor of Hematology, says that women are afraid of technology (I would never have dared to make such a suggestion!). She says, with the experience of one, that women are frightened by the Internet. Don't worry: she is at this moment programming her Palm Pilot v.
Is it that women are more conscientious, and better time-managers? Do they only accept invitations that they know they can fulfil?
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Do women avoid joining 'clubs'? Do they avoid joining a male-dominated team?
I'm 56 years old, and only 1 in 20 medical students in my year were female. So there is now an inevitable deficiency of older female doctors. For many years, it seemed few women became a gastroenterologist or a hepatologist - let alone a 5-star endoscopist. But things have changed dramatically, and there are now many young females in our specialty.
What has GastroHep.com done about this? On the practical side, we have commissioned a beautiful small evening bag for women, using the same silk material that will be used for the gents' ties. Indeed, the bags arrived ahead of the ties! Those women who initially refused my invitation can still change their mind. Finally, women who feel excluded should get in touch with me - there are lots of jobs that need to be completed. Please send me nominations from the 'new generation' of females in our specialty.
This article originally appeared on 29 August 2000.