May 26, 2020

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Pakistan’s cultural norms discourage women from becoming surgeons

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Pakistan's cultural norms discourage women from becoming surgeons
Pakistan’s cultural norms discourage women from becoming surgeons

LONDON: A new study by the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) has found that significant cultural barriers prevent women from pursuing a surgical career in Pakistan, amid calls for policymakers to address underrepresentation.

The study titled “Cultural barriers for women in surgery: How thick is the glass ceiling?” was published after peer review by the World Journal of Surgery this week as an analysis from a low middle-income country.

The publication detailed the findings of a cross-sectional survey in which questions were put to 100 full-time faculty members and trainees in the Department of Surgery at AKUH from July 2019 to November 2019. The respondent breakdown was 32 per cent female and 68pc male.

Results revealed that nearly 72pc of female surgeons said cultural barriers to a surgical career existed for their gender, as compared to 25pc of male surgeons. Around 40pc women reported having been discouraged by family or close friends from pursuing surgery, as compared to only 9pc of males.