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January 8, 1982

Women in Medicine-Reply

JAMA. 1982;247(2):173. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320270013005

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In Reply.—  I appreciate Dr Bryan's comments and am happy to reply to several points she has raised. Dr Bryan states "that women can behave both competently and assuredly without losing their femininity or become emasculating is demonstrated constantly by many women physicians." I certainly hope such is the case, but the achievement of this milestone takes considerable energy, both psychological and professional. Successfully integrating a feminine mode of being into a paternalistic, authoritative male profession is not an insurmountable obstacle, but it is a definite conflict that defers creative energies away from professional matters.Since men comprise and define the medical community, the scientific and philosophical principles they formulate will be based on male stereotypes. It is difficult for a woman to be recognized as a professional peer. One way of dealing with the problem is to relinquish one's feminine demeanor and assume the traits of the male stereotype.