Among the many MSK presentations at this year’s American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting were two highlighting gender inequality of the past and present.
Dr. Marina Stasenko, an MSK clinical fellow in gynecologic oncology, presented the results of a survey of Society of Gynecologic Oncology members. Of the 402 respondents, 71 percent of women and 51 percent of men said they experienced a form of sexual harassment during training or practice. Of these, 17 percent of women and 10 percent of men reported the harassment. Women were more likely to state that harassment negatively impacted their careers. Read more about the survey from Targeted Oncology and Cancer Network coverage.
During the meeting, MSK’s Dr. Monica Morrow discussed the challenges she faced embarking on a career as a surgeon in the early 1980s. During her fellowship at MSK in 1981, she confronted harassment and deep disrespect. Dr. Morrow concluded:
“But as we all know, the battle for gender equality is far from won as has been pointed out to us very clearly in the past couple of years. We still lack equal pay for equal work; women are promoted more slowly than men for the same level of achievement; and although the number of women in the pipeline has been increasing steadily over the years, we lack representation in equal numbers in leadership positions. And sexual harassment remains common.
“This is occurring at a time when 50% of our medical students are female. If we do not fully support these women, embrace their talents, and help them to achieve their maximum potential we will be losing 50% of our workforce in the battle against cancer — and that’s something that our patients cannot afford.”