Maternal Discrimination in Medicine

Updated: Sep 20, 2019

“Why did you wait to schedule this meeting until September, why not July or August?" Candidly, I replied, "I have a family and being on nights, spending those 90 minutes with them a day is very important to me." It was then, behind closed doors, in an office where he held all of the power that he said: “You know, I don't think women with families make as good of doctors as those without.” I was shocked. Is this really happening? Surely he knew this was inappropriate, I thought. Surely he will stop there, I thought. But he continued, “I can offer you two things - a lawyer for a divorce from your husband and also to give up custody of your son.” I laughed nervously as I contemplated what felt like a dozen scenarios, all wagering the power that this man with all of his accolades and decades of institutional backing could wield against me - call him out and risk him ruining my reputation, politely leave and risk any chance at fellowship, leave and find help - someone would listen, right? I made the, albeit unsatisfactory, decision to brush past and redirect the conversation back to the project. To this day, I wish I had said more. But it was what followed that left me without recourse:

"You know, I can make getting into this field [fellowship] very difficult for you, or very easy."