In my career so far, I have not been subject to any overt sexism or racism. If there has been anything covert, my in-built mechanism of being blind & deaf to it has certainly made me immune, as such issues are not of my making but is the burden that the perpetuator carries. As a woman, I have had to work harder, be supremely organised in both my work and home life, be diplomatic but hold my ground, just so I could be on par with my male peers in my early career. Now, with more women choosing a career in surgical specialities; colleagues of my generation feel that the gender of the surgeon is irrelevant, more important is surgical ability and insight. The response from the RCSE President has been heartening.
Striving for a work-life balance is not just something women want, as I do too; but so does each of my male colleagues of my generation where I work: we all want time to have a life outside of work, see our children grow up, rather than Daddy (or Mummy) be a sticker on the fridge. Life-work balance makes us well-rounded contributors to society, helps us to empathise with our patients and involve them in their care, rather than have the paternalistic & patronising personas of surgeons of my father's generation. Ours is a different generation, with different needs in an NHS that has undergone a radical culture change. Attitudes such as those Prof Meirion Thomas that breed intolerance of women in surgical specialities, should stay where they belong, in the last century.
I wholly concur with the view held by the Chief Executive of NHS Employers "Some people are women, get over it."