PUNE — Despite the great strides made by women in the field of medicine, the data available show that they lag behind in the branch of surgery as compared to their male counterparts.
This disparity has prompted the Association of Surgeons of India (ASI), an apex body, to launch the first-of-its-kind 'Women Surgeons Wing' to encourage women to pursue a career in surgery, according to Jayashree Todkar, who is the convener of the new group.
"Figures show that amongst the total of about 25,000 surgeons in India, only 700 are women. They in particular show reluctance to pursue a surgical career due to lifestyle implications and societal pressures," she told reporters here.
Todkar, a bariatric surgeon herself with 20 years experience, said the women's wing would initiate programmes to create an enthusiasm among female doctors to take up careers in surgery.
Elaborating on the discrepancy in numbers of male and female surgeons, she said, "The reasons for this multi-factorial and has been attributed to the unconscious bias, lack of female role models and perceptions regarding work-life balance."
She said the women's wing of surgeons would aim at increasing the number of women in the field to act as "mentors and role models" for female medical students.
"In addition, it will also work towards providing a less traditional surgical culture and emphasis on creating diversity and flexibility with a caring attitude and compassion," Todkar added.
Maharashtra minister Pankaja Munde officially inaugurated the new wing of women surgeons on May 31, coinciding with International Women's Health Day.