The implementation of and communication about matters associated with gender in medical education have been predominantly perceived as women's issues. This study aimed to explore attitudes towards and experiences of gender-related issues among key male members of faculties of medicine.
We conducted semi-structured interviews with 20 male education leaders from the six medical schools in Sweden. The interviews were analysed qualitatively using a modified grounded theory approach.
The core category--'important… but of low status'--reflects ambivalent attitudes towards gender-related issues in medicine among male education leaders. All informants were able to articulate why gender matters. As doctors, they saw gender as a determinant of health and, as bystanders, they had witnessed inequalities and the wasting of women's competence. However, they had doubts about gender-related issues and found them to be overemphasised. Gender education was seen as a threat to medical school curricula as a consequence of the time and space it requires. Gender-related issues were considered to be unscientifically presented, to mostly concern women's issues and to tend to involve 'male bashing' (i.e. gender issues were often labelled as ideological and political). Interviewees asked for facts and knowledge, but questioned specific lessons and gender theory. Experiences of structural constraints, such as prejudice, hierarchies and homosociality, were presented, making gender education difficult and downgrading it.
The results indicate that male faculty leaders embrace the importance of gender-related issues, but do not necessarily recognise or defend their impact on an area of significant knowledge and competence in medicine. To change this and to engage more men in gender education, faculty measures are needed to counteract prejudice and to upgrade the time allocation, merits and status of gender implementation work. Based on our findings, we present and discuss possible ways to interest more men and to improve gender education in medicine.
Comment In: Med Educ. 2011 Jun;45(6):544-621564195
Comment In: Med Educ. 2011 Nov;45(11):116321933244