Break the Bias

On IWD 2022 we commemorate our luminaries and researchers including Sarah Joyce O’Malley (1896–1959), Kathleen Lynn (1874-1955), Katharine Georgina Lloyd-Williams (1896–1973), Virginia Apgar (1909–74) and Frances Mary Lehane (1944-2013).

We recognise women clinicians’, educators’ and researchers’ critical contributions to the profession and to the health of our patients, both women and men. It is particularly noteworthy that in 2022 three clinical departments at RVEEH are chaired by women as are both Medical Board and Council.

Inherent to training the next generation of clinicians is a responsibility to recognise that the physiological necessities and safety underpinning Maslow’s hierarchy remain fundamental to attaining self-actualisation. Ensuring success requires identification and evaluation of effective strategies to improve gender equity gaps all of which include implicit bias awareness. (1)

Acknowledging that ‘leaning-in’ and ‘a seat at the table is no longer enough’ (2,3) RVEEH must continue to amplify women’s voices, to support opportunities and to encourage participation, contributing to the practice and science of medicine and to the quality of patient care.
MD March 8th 2022

1. The Lancet February 09, 2019 Volume 393 Number 10171 p493-610
2. Sandberg S. Lean in: women, work, and the will to lead. 1st Ed. Alfred A. Knopf, New York 2013
3. Patel R, Moonesinghe S. A seat at the table is no longer enough: practical implementable changes to address gender imbalance. BJA 2020; 124: e49-e52

“When I heard that #BreaktheBias is the theme of international women’s day 2022, I felt I had to write a few words.
As a proud immigrant woman of colour, I would have never dreamt that I would achieve my present professional status. I am thankful to God for bestowing me with this success. I am also grateful to my excellent male and female mentors who valued me for my hard work and guided me to success.
It has been a long, arduous struggle that is still ongoing and challenging.
I feel as a woman of colour our voice is constantly disregarded and even in positions of power our colour does not make us stand out but makes us invisible which is a soul-destroying experience. But whenever I feel like giving up, I think of every diversity bias I am representing and fighting for. Facing diversity and disadvantage has only made me more resilient. Whenever I felt side-lined because of who I am I made it my mission to excel in my field of expertise so that I cannot be ignored. I am constantly evolving my practice with advanced innovations and technology and transferring those skills and trying to be a mentor to my junior trainees.
I am a proud mentor to the association of women surgeons in Royal college of Surgeons Ireland, where I have the opportunity to encourage medical students to break all kinds of bias. Above all I am a proud mentor and role model for my son and daughter and hope that they will carry on my legacy of hard work and take pride in their diversity. I hope and pray that they don’t settle for anything less than what they deserve and never think of their diversity as a shortcoming.”

Rizwana I Khan – Consultant Ophthalmologist
Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital