614 “Women in Surgery – Breaking Stereotypes”: Value of Organising WINS Sessions Early in Medical Teaching to Tackle StereotypesE Rao
Despite 59% medical students being female, only 12% consultant surgeons in the UK are female. This study explores the value offered by teaching sessions to promote Women in Surgery (WINS) and help tackle stereotypes amongst medical students.
A virtual session aimed at medical students delivered by a female surgeon who shared her journey of being and becoming a surgeon was offered. A post-session survey collected data from the attendees on their perceptions of the challenges women face in pursuing a career in surgery. Free-text data from the survey were analysed thematically.
Three key themes emerged based on the views attendees shared on the challenges women face in surgery– ‘women cannot make good surgeons’; ‘surgery is harder for females to access’ and ‘women are more family-orientated with less passion for the job’. Following the session, the participants were asked to share their key learning points which they identified as ‘women can make excellent surgeons’; ‘support is available’ and ‘work-life balance is possible’. Overall, all participants stated that the session motivated them in taking up a career in surgery.
Our results indicate that direct early medical student-to-surgeon engagement is significant in addressing misconceptions which might be helpful in dealing with some stereotypes surrounding WINS. Well-informed students are more likely to pursue surgery as a career, addressing current gender disparities. Feedback indicated that attendees valued personal insights and experiences of the invited speaker and this information is of value to inform future interventions which help address issues of representation of females in surgery.