In late 2018, the Yale on-campus PA program was visited by an NCCPA representative, there to help us understand the ins and outs of our national certification exam and process. Present for the talk were the class of 2018 (nearing the end of our clinical rotations), and the class of 2019 (a few months into their clinical rotations). Also present for the talk were at least two PA faculty members.
Thing were going swimmingly for a bit, and then the speaker decided to share his take on why going to PA school and being a PA were good life choices. Apparently, he would definitely “recommend PA school to his sons” because “that’s where all the beautiful and smart ladies are”.
Yes. In 2018, this guy informed a room full of mostly women that the main value of being a woman in PA school is to make it easier for dudes to find someone to bang or marry.
Cue awkward chuckles.
I got out of my seat and out of the classroom, and on the way out I asked one of the present faculty members if I could speak to her outside. Once we were out of the classroom and out of earshot, she berated me for being disruptive. Okay, I guess? I would have been equally disruptive if I got out of my seat to go pee, but I suppose I can’t argue I would have been less disruptive if I just stayed in my seat.
But you know what, being disruptive is the whole point. Sexist bullshit survives on inaction; we allow it to exist when we don’t challenge it, don’t question it, and don’t disrupt it.
And speaking of inaction: berating me was literally the only visible response from the PA program faculty. You might think that at the Yale School of Medicine (an institution whose failure to appropriately respond to sexual harassment and assault has repeatedly been in the national news), while we are in the middle of celebrating 100 years of women in medicine at Yale, the faculty would do the bare minimum of apologizing to everyone present for the behavior of an outside speaker they invited to the program. No such luck; they showed no accountability, they offered no apology for what happened, and they gave no reassurance that it was unacceptable.
(It’s possible they privately followed up with the speaker or the NCCPA; I have no way of knowing that, because of the complete lack of transparency about this.)
So, dudes — since our faculty couldn’t be bothered — let me break it down for you: the purpose of women’s accomplishments isn’t to give you a hardon.