Medicine and sexism

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Sir, – While the Scally report describes some extraordinarily poor communication, it seems important that our efforts to improve in this regard are proportional, and based on facts.

Mary McAuliffe considers our health system to be “unthinkingly reckless with women’s lives”, sexist and misogynistic (“Sexism and misogyny in health service does not just harm women”, Opinion & Analysis, September 21st). I find this view inexplicable.

I qualified in medicine from an Irish university over 20 years ago. The vast majority of my class were female. A relative of mine, a paediatrician, who is now of retirement age, tells me that her class, in the same university, was just over 50 per cent female.

Although many doctors travel internationally for work, or opt in or out of the workforce, Medical Council data from fire years ago found that well over 40 per cent of doctors registered here were women.

Looking at the healthcare “system”, as one in everyday practice there, it appears to me that the vast majority of nurses, midwives, and ancillary care staff are female.

It is remarkable that this system is such an exemplar of “institutional misogyny”, and curious that, despite such a “reckless” attitude toward women, Irish men live consistently shorter lives than their female counterparts. – Yours, etc,

BRIAN O’BRIEN,

Kinsale,

Co Cork.

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