Coping with and Recovering From Sexual Discrimination

Your Career Coach Coping with and Recovering From Sexual Discrimination Dear Michele, I am a female physician who worked for a large HMO where I was a victim of sexual discrimination. I was also retaliated against because I reported several practices which were below the standard of care. The HMO makes all its physicians sign […]

Your Career Coach

Coping with and Recovering From Sexual Discrimination

Dear Michele,

I am a female physician who worked for a large HMO where I was a victim of sexual discrimination. I was also retaliated against because I reported several practices which were below the standard of care. The HMO makes all its physicians sign a contract binding them to arbitration, and I’d been well-advised that the process is skewed toward the HMO since they pay for it. Being a wife and mother, I felt I couldn’t put my family through a process that would undoubtedly be lengthy, costly, and make me lose complete faith in humanity. Have others found ways to bring awareness to sexual discrimination without retaliation? How do I recover spiritually and professionally from a brutal experience?

– White Coat Sister

Dear Sister,

First let me say that I am so sorry you had to face this situation, and that the remedy available didn’t give you the relief you so clearly sought. How have other women dealt with discrimination? It’s been a long, tough slog. Let’s not forget that women got the right to vote not even 100 years ago. Our fore-mothers made incredible progress, leveling the playing field for those who’ve come after them, but there’s still a long way to go. In my book, discrimination only flourishes in the darkness, so it’s up to each of us to shed the bright light that stops discrimination in its tracks. We do this by speaking up, by empowering others to change, and by using any legal means necessary to obtain justice. We also do this by leaving discriminatory organizations and finding or founding new ones –
organizations that reflect openness and opportunity for everyone. Have you considered finding a new avenue to practice medicine?

And, as to your question about recovering…I am a firm believer that the path to peace after (or during!) a traumatic, wrenching experience is to work with an able therapist who understands how to help people move into a new, more fulfilling, inspiring life. If you haven’t done so already, I urge you to find a counselor and begin your journey toward healing.


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