As on organisation, Level aims to engage medical students, medical professionals, faculty, and regulatory bodies in a discussion of gender based issues in medical education and training, including but not limited to:
Gender awareness in patient-doctor, doctor-doctor and doctor-community interactions
Barriers to female presence, participation and leadership in all stages of medical training and practice
Broader gender issues relevant to the health and medical sector including abortion law reform
Level aims to change the conversation around gender in medicine, but we strongly believe that in order for progress to be achieved, everyone, including men, needs to work together to create gender equality, for the benefit of all genders. We want to challenge society’s views of femininity and masculinity, and the issues these views create for everyone in their careers and personal lives. Through Level’s work, we want to amplify a conversation that centers on the inequities and challenges that our current system imposes on all genders in separate, yet significant, ways.
Most of the statistics available about gender in medicine are based on American or European data or regulations. They also consistently collect and present data in a binary of ‘male’ and ‘female’. With our amazing Policy Team and Summer Research Fellows, we’re aiming to change that, and are putting together specifically Australian data on gender equity.
Our Level Summer Research Fellowships program invites interested participants to prepare research papers pertinent to gender equity in medicine. Topics explored to date include the mental health of female doctors, barriers to women in surgery, gender-diverse persons in medicine, and gender-based discrimination in medicine.
Our ongoing major research project, The Audit Project, is an audit of gender representation in medical teaching in Australian medical schools.
Despite much progress being made in the last decades, disparity between genders in the medical profession remains a significant issue. Importantly, we recognise that this gender disparity becomes an issue from the very first day of medical school, with students immediately exposed to a “hidden curriculum” which perpetuates existing gender stereotypes and almost invariably includes more male teachers in programs for procedural skills such as surgery. This hidden curriculum reinforces to all students, regardless of gender, the pre-existing, entrenched and gendered nature of specialisation within medicine.
Our study will be the first of its kind in Australia, with no previous studies having been conducted of this nature.
Advocating for gender equity across Australian medicine is a lofty goal, we get that. As a primarily student-run organisation, we’re focussed on advocating at the medical school level for key policies like clear complaints mechanisms, anonymous feedback opportunities for all teaching, and ensuring that medical schools take a clear, zero-tolerance policy towards gender-based discrimination and harassment.
Although you might believe in our work, it can be really tricky to fight for gender equity in your day-to-day life, especially if it involves you being the most junior person in the hospital. That’s where our workshops come in! They’re designed to arm you with conversational tools and strategies to best manage conflict in hospital and the medical workplace…plus they’re really great fun.
Australia is full of incredible doctors and medical students who are breaking down gender barriers. What could be better than getting some of them together to inspire students and younger doctors, and talk about their experiences? Our past successful events include a panel looking at ways to change the medical culture to reduce barriers for women, and another on what it’s like to be a woman in surgery.
The best way to keep up with our events is to follow us on Facebook .