The issue sparked a debate online about sexism in the world of healthcare.
Over the years, the issue of dress codes has sparked many a debate. Why should there be a dress code in the first place in any environment? Is it a sign of professionalism? Or is it restrictive? Misogynistic? Many people question why women mostly have to bear the brunt of these rules. They also note there is a lot of discrimination that extends not just to work environments but also into various fields of education. A med student got into an unpleasant situation recently. While GIVING her OSCE exam, the student was “yellow carded for wearing a ‘short skirt,’” according to her friend who posted about the incident.
#medtwitter A friend did their OSCE’s with me recently & got yellow carded for wearing a “short skirt”… could someone explain to me how it’s 2021 & medical schools are still pushing sexist notions of primness upon its female student cohort, for daring to display their ankles. pic.twitter.com/WFjMdxou4m— Ciarán (@MedicGrandpa) June 25, 2021
The student, known as Twitter user @thegradmedic, could be seen wearing a knee-length dress that most people would not consider inappropriate. She posted an update saying that she complained to the University of Newcastle, who supposedly responded by further condemning her dress in private. She wrote that "their response was ‘it was the most inappropriate dress they had ever seen’ and then stated that the examiners word is final and the investigation is closed isn’t discrimination lovely." The university has since responded to the allegations in a series of tweets. They wrote: We want to apologise once again to @thegradmedic for any offence or distress caused by this incident. The comment was made by a role-play patient as part of an exam. All comments made by patients in exams are passed on to students as feedback. However, we agree it should not have resulted in a yellow card from the examiner. This is why, when the concerns were raised with us by @thegradmedic earlier this year, they were investigated and the yellow card was rescinded. We would not want any student to come away from these exams feeling remarks like this in any way reflect the values of the University and the issues will be addressed in future examination briefings. (3/3)
Classic deflection issue, the only ones that think women are distracting are the ones that can't control themselves.— Michelle (@ArgoMichelle) September 12, 2021
I once disconnected my own life support & died rather than be confronted with the possibility that my doctor may have human legs.— Christian Hughes (@hughesck) September 8, 2021
But the student wasn't impressed. She called the apology "infactual information" and that "it came apparently from the patient and examiner alike - I asked for verification that it came from the patient and received none - the investigation started with ‘we asked the clinician’ and ended with that." What was their problem with her outfit in the first place? She explained: Word for word; ‘student had short dress with no leg coverings - roleplayer commented immediately station said looked unprofessional and I agree’. Belittling the situation and the fact that no action has been taken with the examiner, is not an apology. Another woman student who wished to remain anonymous agreed that discrimination is a painful spot of academia, according to Bored Panda. “I think there needs to be a wider awareness of the nature of these comments—why is it felt that showing some extra skin demeans people’s perception of us professionally?” she questioned. Many women do not come forward because they are often shamed into silence. "I suppose the issue is that it’s not uncommon at all for doctors and students to fear speaking out publicly for fear of professional repercussions,” she said. Many supported the med student for standing up against the harsh discrimination.
What worries me is the lengths that @thegradmedic had to go to even to get a response from you. Not every woman is as brave. For every @thegradmedic, there hundreds more who have experienced sexism, misogyny and harassment in medicine who are shamed into silence.— Dr Samantha Batt-Rawden 💙 (@sbattrawden) September 9, 2021