The Mokdong Hospital: Female Applicants Not Held Back by Sexual Discrimination
The Mokdong Hospital: Female Applicants Not Held Back by Sexual Discrimination
  • 임리영 기자
  • 승인 2005.04.06 00:00
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▲ Women doctors are involved in all aspects of health care at Mokdong Hospital. The hospital strives to establish gender equality in staff employment.
   With the Korean national assembly's decision to reform the 'hoju' system and allow women to become legal heads of households in March, it may seem like the last barrier to gender equality has been removed from the Korean society. Unfortunately, the reality is that discrimination against women is still practiced in Korea nowhere more than in the field of medicine. Numerous university hospitals discourage or simply do not accept women applicants for certain departments such as orthopedics.
   This problem, however, is not a concern for applicants to the Ewha Womans University Mokdong Hospital, where women are allowed to apply to all medical departments and are treated with relative equality. In fact, Mokdong Hospital has long established ties to the advancement of equality for women. It began the "Boguyeongwan," (meaning a place to help and protect women) established by King Gojong on Oct. 31, 1887 at the request of Ms. Mary F. Scranton who also founded Ewha Hakdang. Then, in 1945 when Ewha College became Ewha Womans University, it also founded a Medical Department and Pharmacy Department. On Nov. 28, 1990 the groundbreaking ceremony for construction of the new hospital at Mokdong took place.
   So far, female medical students who have passed the Korean Medical License Exam (KMLE) with top scores are afraid that arguing against discrimination may cause the professors to situate them in even more unfavorable positions. One reason for this discrimination is the conservative mindset of Korean doctors and hospital administrators. Administrators at co-ed university hospitals claim that it is more appropriate to receive male applicants because the job requires doctors to stay overnight often and women are too "feeble" to go through such hardships. Also in the male-oriented Korean hospital system, the relationship between senior and junior doctors is similar to that in the military service where hierarchies, which are not yet open to women, exist. According to the National Statistical Office in 2002, 30 to 40 percent of medical students in Korean universities were females, but only 18.4 percent of doctors in Korea were females. However, at the Mokdong Hospital the number of female doctors surpasses that of males by about 60 to 40 percent.
   Jun Sang (Mokdong Hospital Public Information Office) says, "Aside from averting sexual discrimination Mokdong Hospital also creates an amicable environment for patients due to the family-friendly image female doctors generate."

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