Why You're Seeing Photos of Female Doctors on Your Feed

April 14th 2017

Lita Martinez

This week, thousands of female doctors shared photos of themselves on social media, and all of them are striking this pose:

So far, thousands of posts have been making the rounds using the hashtag #ILookLikeASurgeon, and the trend is sending an important message about representation in the medical community.


A post shared by Risha Corbs (@rishacorbs) on

It was inspired by the April 3 cover of the New Yorker, which was illustrated by French artist Malika Favre. It shows, from a patient's perspective, a group of four female surgeons looking down as if they were starting a procedure.


A post shared by The New Yorker (@newyorkermag) on

The image caught the attention of endocrinologist Dr. Susan Pitt, who told the magazine she wanted to get other female doctors to recreate it:

“Women surgeons are saying to other women surgeons, ‘I see you,’ and to the world, ‘See us.’”

Though there are more women entering the medical field than ever before, according to the Association of American Medical College's latest workplace report, only 19 percent of doctors who specialize in general surgery are women. And in other areas, like neurological or orthopedic surgery, they make up just 5 percent and 7.8 percent, respectively, of surgeons working in those specialties.

A study conducted by the American Medical Association also found that female medical students were more likely to enroll in a residency program if there are higher numbers of female residents. What's more, a greater proportion of female doctors eventually end up training those residents - suggesting that they are more likely to take on more work than their male counterparts.

Yet another study found that while there's a roughly equal balance between the total number of male and female medical students and residents, the situation changes once they graduate. At research and teaching institutions, women make up less than a quarter of full-time positions in surgical fields. There are even fewer women who are surgical department chairs - they make up just 1 percent of those positions.

Many female doctors-in-training say that on top of the long working hours and other daily pressures of residency, they also have to contend with sexism from their peers and supervisors - and even from patients themselves.