“Walking on eggshells”: experiences of underrepresented women inmedical training

Farah Naz
Kori A. LaDonna
Parisa Rezaiefar
Yara Abou-Hamde
Yasmine S. Alborhamy
Soort article
Original Research
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Introduction Medicine remains an inequitable profession for women. Challenges are compounded for underrepresented women in medicine (UWiM), yet the complex features of underrepresentation and how they influence women’s career paths remain underexplored. This qualitative study examined the experiences of trainees self-identifying as UWiM, including how navigating underrepresentation influenced their envisioned career paths.

Methods Ten UWiM family medicine trainees from one Canadian institution participated in semi-structured group interviews. Thematic analysis of the data was informed by feminist epistemology and unfolded during an iterative process of data familiarization, coding, and theme generation.

Results Participants identified as UWiM based on visible and invisible identity markers. All participants experienced discrimination and “otherness”, but experiences differed based on how identities intersected. Participants spent considerable energy anticipating discrimination, navigating otherness, and assuming protective behaviours against real and perceived threats. Both altruism and a desire for personal safety and inclusion influenced their envisioned careers serving marginalized populations and mentoring underrepresented trainees.


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