Who is this writing for Whine Night?
Hello all! My name is Jordan Arends and I am absolutely thrilled to be a guest writer for Whine Night!
I was asked by Emily, a college friend of mine, to write a piece after I told her how much this blog has resonated with me. I immediately freaked out at this opportunity and had no idea about what to write.
A little about me first…I am a medical student…well, technically I will be officially one in July but, it is way easier to say it this way because my program is something no one (unless you’ve done it or are a medical student) has ever heard of. But, I digress. To be a doctor has always been my dream.
Okay…so what does all that matter?
I perused the list Emily provided me with to jumpstart the creativity. “What you want to do in your life” really stuck out to me. So, I decided to talk about the field of medicine that I have the current desire to pursue. I say current because who knows what medical school will bring me in the coming years that could change my current interests.
I always face the same question of “what kind of doctor do you want to be?”. Recently, I’ve been answering it with a top 3 or saying what I don’t want to do. My top 3 would be orthopedics, anesthesiology, and lastly obstetrics and gynecology. Becoming an OB/GYN has been a thought in my career goals ever since I became an uncle for the first time. I was excited to see all the inner-workings of a baby’s delivery. Over the following years, I experienced 8 more births in my family which included scenarios like preemies, twins, and Caesarian sections. I fell in love with medicine for the 4th or 5th time by this point so I was addicted. I really wanted to learn more about pregnancy in my classes and tried to incorporate it into any assignment I could. I even attended my sister’s Lamaze class when her husband had to be out of town unexpectedly so I stepped in for the promise of Chipotle (I’ll never say no to that). I couldn’t get enough of the labor videos and techniques they used, despite the odd looks I received when I walked in wearing my high school letter jacket. That did not matter because I was learning more about the amazing phenomenon of birth.
Alright we get it, but why do we care?
As of 2013, OB/GYN residency programs were about 65% female-dominated and upwards of 90% of applicants to these programs were female. This is a complete reversal of the male-dominated times in medicine of the past few decades. As a result, a lot of women have female OB/GYNs. This is where I see my biggest challenge.
Women face all sort of sexism with wage gaps (fittingly Equal Pay day was last Tuesday April 4th), education, or you-name-it. Males are not normally hindered in a professional or academic setting. There were never “Men in Medicine” clubs because males were the ones calling the shots. I attended an all-male high school too so my experience of gender inclusion was very delayed; however, I was educated by a female-dominated faculty and they are some of the most intelligent people I have ever met. Including my mother and sisters, I would not be where I am if it weren’t for the influential women in my life.
I always get the surprised look or even the “pervert” label when I say I might want to be an OB/GYN. Well…NO! The most rewarding thing for me would be to become a father someday. The next most rewarding thing would be to be a beacon of knowledge in the room for expecting parents (their doctor haha). I want to help mothers and their newborn children because they are the key to the future.
So now what?
I want to thank the ladies of Whine Night for giving me a platform to discuss gender issues in medicine. These two amazing women have gone public with issues of sexism and the like while a lot of people continue with the putrid status-quo. While I will never be able to say that I have experienced similar prejudices that women have, I feel that I have a more accurate understanding of the amount of courage and strength women must have to enter specialties that are male-dominated while often being expected to maintain a family or a household (but that’s a whole new issue I won’t talk about now). Even though the percentiles aren’t on my side, I can’t wait to continue learning from these women in medicine should I go to apply for an OB/GYN residency. Regardless, I look forward to working alongside women for the duration of my career.