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February 2010

Women in Surgery

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Dr Agarwal's Surgery [[amp]] Yoga, New Delhi, India.

Arch Surg. 2010;145(2):210. doi:10.1001/archsurg.2009.273

Declining medical school enrollments and preference for lifestyle-friendly specialties forewarn a dwindling surgical workforce. A surgical career demands precision and absolute dedication despite other commitments. Clinical rewards, academics, research, and publications have become metrics of success. For women, prioritization between home and work is like sailing between Scylla and Charybdis.1,2 How can she achieve balance? How can we contribute socially? The article by Troppmann et al3 is a stepping stone on this quest. Maintaining career metrics means that women avoid marriage, delay starting a family, have fewer children, bear perinatal complications, and accept a wider age gap with their children.4 At work, women accept reduced benefits/academic status without questioning the social perceptions of lower academic productivity.1,4 Still, they remain objectively unprejudiced and nonpartisan in recommending a surgical career to men and women alike.4 Paternalistic inflexibility seems glaring when men recommend a surgical career more to other men while disregarding the suggestions of female colleagues' for the need of child care and maternity leave. Women have shown courage in filling the void of dwindling medical school enrollments and residency recruitments.

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