Some men on Twitter have a problem with Pakistani women becoming surgeons and we're rolling our eyes
Apparently, saying women can be surgeons in Pakistan can land you in trouble on Twitter. It happened to surgeon Dr Javed Iqbal recently, after his tweet about training female surgeons was widely shared on social media.
Iqbal had posted a picture of his students with the caption, "Who says surgery is not for girls. All seven of them are. I am humbled that I could train them in my unit."
While his efforts were widely lauded, a surprising amount of people hurled criticism at the doctor as well. His Twitter replies were flooded with people who felt very strongly (and strangely) that women shouldn't become surgeons.
"Don't mislead them," a user commented. "Don't destroy their life as good wife [and] as a good mother. Why overburden them. They should select some relax[ing] and more rewarding emerging field in MBBS," said one user with a very strange outlook on women's choices of profession.
Someone tell this man that women can choose to be surgeons, wives and mothers all at the same time and that too quite impeccably.
Quite a few users came forth to remind everyone about the dire need of female doctors in Pakistan. One user talked about how several women are not comfortable being treated by male doctors due to religious and personal reasons. Many women would much rather go to female doctors instead.
"Several women I know delay treatment and avoid elective surgery for religious and personal reasons," the user wrote. "Recently, a lady had to undergo emergency surgery which could have been prevented."
Another user pointed out the need for female surgeons for the same reason. She also happens to be the proud mother of a female surgeon herself. Go mom!
One user commented about how this field is not for women because of their "physical capabilities".
We're not exactly sure what physical capabilities disqualify women from becoming qualified surgeons. If you are talking about intelligence, courage and dexterity, women possess all of that and then some.
There was this other user who completely missed the point of Iqbal's post and commented on the clothing choices of the women in the picture instead. "Wish you had taught them to observe purdah," he wrote.
Someone else quite aptly pointed out the user's own missing prayer cap on his head. "You too should have observed the Imama or topi as a Muslim man," he replied.
Women in Pakistan face various hurdles in the pursuit of practicing medicine, be it the phenomenon of doctor brides or inherent systemic biases that promote men more than women.
One user narrated her own experience to remind us of this. "I left my surgery house job as [my] fellow male house-officers kept demoralising me," she wrote. "I faced [a lot of] negativity from them."
We've learned some things from this Twitter post and its replies — some people just love to criticise for the sake of criticising and being a female doctor in Pakistan is even harder than we thought. Our respect and admiration for women who struggle on to become medical practitioners in the country has increased tenfold. They have to study so much, work long, gruelling hours and deal with people like this who think they know better. Keep fighting the good fight ladies, there is a strong community of people out here who support you, despite the haters.
And to the haters — sit down, no one asked for your opinion.