From the Editor-in-Chief: Women in Federal Medicine
Editor-in-Chief, Chester ‘Trip’ Buckenmaier III, MD, COL, MC, USA.
As a father of three daughters, I have a special sensitivity to women’s issues of equality, especially in the workplace.
My daughters would confirm that I often tell them they live in a particularly exciting time for women in this country. Possibly for the first time in history they can consider a career in any field of endeavor they desire. They are free to explore the frontiers of their talents, limited only by their willingness to work towards a goal.
Even the pay gap between male and female employees appears to be narrowing. I feel particularly blessed to be raising daughters in a country that is founded on principles that ensure my comments to my daughters are true. Certainly there are many places on this planet where a father cannot offer such seemingly limitless opportunity.
Granted, there are still areas within our society where men still maintain an unfair advantage, though these examples appear to be fading fast.
The striking and relatively recent transformation women have had on federal medicine is apparent when one considers that the first woman physician commissioned as a medical officer in the regular Army was in 1953.
Though women are still restricted from serving in combat units (only the Coast Guard has no restrictions) they are certainly not isolated from combat. This fact was clearly demonstrated to me in Afghanistan as I cared for female wounded that were, as often as not, brought in by female medics.
Women have been a part of federal medicine from the beginning, serving on all of our nation’s battlefields, often with little status or recognition. How striking the change from our past when I noted the preponderance of generals at a recent Army medical symposium were women. read more
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