'Should you turn this into a complete gender matter?' Gender mainstreaming in medical education

Petra Verdonk*, Yvonne Benschop, Hanneke de Haes, Linda Mans, Toine Lagro-Janssen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The incorporation of a gender perspective in medical education aims toward better health, gender equity, and a better health care for both men and women. In this article, participants' responses to a Dutch gender awareness-raising project in medical education are discussed. Eighteen semi-structured interviews were held with education directors and change agents. Resistance towards and obstacles for gender mainstreaming in medical education were implicit in four themes: (1) biomedical knowledge was perceived to be gender neutral, to which knowledge about women could be added to the body of knowledge either with or without framing them as gender issues; (2) the relevance of gender was unofficially denied by downplaying it, particularly in comparison with culture/ethnicity; (3) medical education's social accountability was hardly mentioned and gender inequalities in health were framed as feminist political issues and not medical issues; and (4) we were urged to communicate carefully to increase acceptance and avoid overt resistance which situated gender inequalities outside the medical domain. Recommendations to change educational material were widely discussed; but specific features of gender were easily lost. This was especially true for power differences between men and women. Nevertheless, dominant systems of thought were challenged.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)703-719
Number of pages17
JournalGender and Education
Volume21
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2009

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