A recent Harvard study found that female doctors are caring for elderly patients with a higher success rate than male doctors. Elderly patients under the care of women were less likely to die or return to the hospital after being discharged.
After the study was published, an editorial followed, urging doctors to close the pay gap between men and women, especially when women have proven to be more than competent in this field.
NPR’s All Things Considered spoke to two doctors who are married to each other, —one is a cis-gendered man and the other is a cis-gendered woman— about their reactions to the study.
“I'm assuming the difference is because of the way that women, in general, communicate. It's about being better listeners, more nurturing and having emotional intelligence,” said Dr. Sarah-Anne Henning Schumann.
Henning Schumann brings up an important point here, but taking it a step further, the topic of the gender binary that we all grow up may explain a lot when it comes to the study's findings.
The gender binary dictates that men are supposed to be physically strong, independent, and brave, among other things, while women are supposed to be physically weak, nurturing/emotional, and fragile. So, because we think men and women have these traits in a major way, we raise them with that in mind.
Another study shows that mothers speak to their daughters in different ways that they speak to their sons. With their daughters, they tend to use more emotional words and emotional content than they do with their sons.
So, when we raise women with the assumption that they are or will be more communicative than men, it isn't surprising that women grow up to use their finely tuned communication skills in their careers so successfully, especially when it comes to saving lives. We simply have not given men the chance to be as communicative as women, because we haven’t raised them that way.
In this way and in many other ways we would benefit from raising men and women to be both communicative and independent thinkers. The gender binary has been putting limitations on how we relate to each other and our possibilities to thrive, for far too long.
You Might Also Like
This Is What Trans Men Have To Say About Male Privilege And The Masculinity Trap
College Student Creates Powerful Photo Series To Protest Against Donald Trump