Surgery is diverse

After a good job, your signature.

Not everybody can work as a surgeon. A significant problem-solving capacity, resistance, in addition to great commitment, are required. This profession demands sacrifices from all its professionals, and special mention should be made to woman surgeons, as it has always been even more challenging for them.

The female surgeon perspective: Prof. Lydia Cairncross

Surgeon at Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

Video Gallery

  • Prof. Lorenza Driul

    Surgeon at Azienda Sanitaria Universitaria Friul Centrale, Udine, Italy

  • Prof. Dr. Natascha C. Nüssler

    Surgeon at München Klinik Neuperlach, Munich, Germany

  • Dr. Pilar Pinto

    Surgeon at Río Hortega University Hospital, Valladolid, Spain

Woman surgeons: a history full of pitfalls

Although it is known that women already practiced surgery even 3500 years before Christ, [1] they had to do it without formal education, without recognition or in secret.

Many stories prove the barriers for women to be surgeons and it is well known that women even impersonated men to be able to practice. The most famous case, in the 19th century, is that of Dr. James Barry, the first surgeon to perform a successful Caesarean section, turned out to be a woman: Margaret Ann Bulkley. [2]

There is a shortage of female surgeons

Yet today, although the number of women has increased in medicine, female surgeons are still a minority, and they are poorly represented in positions of greater responsibility and leadership.

The reasons why women choose more non-surgical specialties are diverse. Gender stereotypes and the social perception of women’s role have much to do with it.

On the other hand, it is difficult to put aside the reputation of male stronghold that surgery always had. This can discourage women from choosing a profession that is considered demanding and competitive, in a world in which there are still environments where women’s skills are questioned.

Looking ahead

The number of female surgeons must grow all over the world. We can all contribute to the change. Surgical associations, universities and hospitals can establish specific plans to approach gender-based discrimination and not to professionally penalize women with children. Personally, each surgeon can contribute to it. And also the industry.

Therefore, from B. Braun we would also like to make our own contribution in the road to equity in surgery, giving visibility and voice to female surgeons, not only for them to be a role model and motivation for new generations, but also because we are proud of them.

[1] Wirtzfeld, Debrah A. “The history of women in surgery.” Canadian journal of surgery. Journal canadien de chirurgie vol. 52,4 (2009): 317-320.
[2] Bourjeily, Ghada, and Sangeeta Mehta. “Gender diversity in Obstetric Medicine.” Obstetric medicine vol. 12,2 (2019): 55-56. doi:10.1177/1753495X19851711