Bookend

Our generations

In 1960, a woman entering medicine had all the normal hurdles to overcome and then some. So what’s it like for her daughter?

When my oldest daughter, Lydia, was four years old, she announced that she wanted to be a nurse when she grew up.“Why not a doctor?” I asked.“Women can’t be doctors,” Lydia replied.This was an idea she had picked up in nursery school, although I, her mother, had practiced medicine her entire life. We had a talk, and I mounted a re-education campaign. At age 10, Lydia was determined to become a physician; today she is one, with a promising career in academic medicine ahead of her.Since her graduation from medical school in 1991 and her residency at Yale, we’ve had the opportunity to compare notes about the experiences of women in medicine. Despite significant differences in our professional lives — it is...

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