We young female trainee doctors were appalled at the manner in which Dr Rhona Mahony was vilified in the press over the past week. Complex contract issues of employment were used as an excuse to pursue an anti-female doctor agenda. There is gender bias and discrimination in Ireland. Is Ireland still deeply uncomfortable with women filling senior management positions? Although the debate involved hundreds of individuals in senior management across the Ireland, only Dr Mahony was personally targeted. Both she and her young family were singled out for “special attention” although she has done nothing wrong. The reason is simply that she is a successful young woman.
Dr Mahony is a role model for all female doctors. She leads by example. She cares passionately for the welfare of mothers and their babies, making ambitions for delivering a first-class service real. She is in the hospital before we arrive in the morning and long after we have gone home. She knows us all by name and is mindful and appreciative of what we do. Our doctors’ staff room has no hierarchy. This positive and supportive ethos is fostered from the top down. At a time of a national shortage in non-consultant doctors, positions in our hospital remain highly sought after. She is a major reason why we still work in the Irish health service when our medical school classmates are now working abroad.
The inclusion of her family in the debate should not have happened. The media should not have camped out outside her home. (We acknowledge this did not involve The Irish Times). We feel the exposure of young children to the glare of adverse publicity is always wrong and has the potential to cause them harm. If we aspire to be successful, we wonder how we would protect our families from what Dr Mahony has had to contend with. This past week has brought home to us that in Ireland successful females continue to be treated in a more harsh and personal manner than their male counterparts. Perhaps we should admit that Ireland is not yet happy to see women succeed? The media should exercise more caution before they drive a priceless resource in medical management and clinical expertise off these shores. – Yours, etc,
Dr Emer Ryan Registrar; Dr Nuala Quinn, Specialist Registrar; Dr Madeliene, Registrar, Dr Aisling Stafford, Senior House Officer Dr Sarah Mulligan, Senior House Officer; Dr Silvia Simon, Senior House Officer; Dr Trisha Palmer Registrar; Dr Aedin Ryan, Senior House Officer & Dr Vicky O’Dwyer, RegistarNational Maternity Hospital, Holles Street, Dublin 2.
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(Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland)