Women & Wellness Part 2

Let's talk about wellness in female physicians. We are going to bring you some DATA on why women in medicine have HIGHER rates of burnout than their male colleagues. If you have not read Part 1 yet, click here and don't miss any part of this awesome series on Women & Wellness in medicine brought to you by Abigail Schirmer, MS-1 and our founder Melissa Parsons, MD.

Sexual Harassment

The term “sexual harassment” refers to three forms of abuse. According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), gender harassment, unwanted sexual attention, and sexual coercion are all included under the umbrella term that is “sexual harassment.” (10) Gender harassment is defined by this report as “verbal and nonverbal behaviors that convey hostility, objectification, exclusion, or second-class status about members of one gender.” (10) Unwanted sexual attention is defined by this report as “unwelcome verbal or physical sexual advances, which can include assault.” (10) Sexual coercion is defined by this report as “favorable professional or educational treatment is conditioned on sexual activity.” (10)

This past year, the NASEM delivered a consensus report in regards to the prevalence of sexual harassment amongst women in academic sciences, engineering, and medicine. Included in this consensus report was the finding that sexual harassment will occur to as many as 50% of female medical students. (10)

Sexual harassment, in every form, is hindering progress being made to close the gender gap in medicine. In undermining a woman’s road to professional and educational development, sexual harassment is jeopardizing the mental and physical health of women. Sexual harassment leads to women withdrawing from leadership opportunities, resigning from their respective institution, or even leaving the field of medicine.

Several assessments of female students and young professionals have suggested the prevalence of sexual harassment within the sciences. According to a University of Texas study assessing sexual harassment prevalence, approximately 20% female science students and 25% of female engineering students have reported experiencing sexual harassment. While this study