By Maryam Ayub (4th year MBBS)
But the thing is i belong to an educated family with conservative yet feminist views so I know better than to think about giving up my career without a reason. A girl who is the first doctor in her family with family and susral pressure just doesn't has the support to stand up for herself even though she really wants to.
So here are my eleven points which we should remember while criticising or defending the only-for-marriage-doctor brides (and not just "the doctor bride" because even though we can make general rules for masses , there are always exceptions and individuals should always be able to decide their lives according to their circumstances. )
1. A 50% quota , although a 20th century anti-equality notion, can prove to be a useful tool in our country if implemented for 10 years as an emergency measure only.
2. But it can also prove to be equally useless if the guys just keep going out of country.
3. Using the logic that even if guys go out of country they are still being doctors is stupid and itself cuts the logic of "tax payers money" because taxpayers had no interest in paying for treating foreigners. (Not to mention the fact even with many girls leaving , medicine is still most cost-effective field for taxpayers)
4. Saying that some girls come only for good rishtas (and here I will even not acknowledge the people to dignify them who say that all girls come for rishtas) even if true is really any better than knowing most boys and girls come for good economic prospects? Specially considering the fact that even a noticeable %age of males leave medicine to pursue civil services, family business etc.
5. The girls don't go to serve in small villages but I know I'll be hard pressed to find a Kemcolian guy (graduated within last ten years ) who has worked in a small village.
6. The girls go in basic sciences is a stupid argument as a person who has studied from Dr. Mehr , Dr. Nabila , Dr. Zahra or Dr. Nadia (among many others) knows the importance of an extraordinary or even a good teacher in a basic department.
7. To the girls who come only for good rishtas , I really hope that you get a good rishta. I know of girls who went to engineering colleges for the same thing. But I also really hope that you try to leave a spark of medicine in you (read point 8) because taxpayers really did pay for your study. (You can certainly say your parents paid if you went to a private college. And it's not limited to medicine. Taxpayers pay for engineering and other students too)
8. To the girls who really want to pursue medicine but are under family or in-laws pressure or are in just some unfortunate circumstances (like being married into a small town or in a foreign unfriendly to doctors-in-hijab country) , when marrying don't look for a handsome or rich person. Look for someone who would be more understanding of your career. If you are already in some unfriendly circumstances here's a few points to help you sleep better at night.
a. Join basic sciences . Pathology if you want to have an easy practice.
b. Open a small dispensary in your home. It doesn't even have to be commercial. Help other people in a way a non-doctor can't.
c. If nothing works know that it's okay. You are still better off being a doctor-mother than an uneducated-not caring for education of girls-mother .
9. To guys (preparing for USMLE) critisizing doctor brides , I'll share my favourite quote of Friends by Rachel " No uterus , no opinion" . You really have no idea what women go through in Pakistan. You really don't. But you are still worse than the girl being forced not to practice. You are choosing not to treat "the taxpayers"
10. To guys and girls opting to stay in Pakistan , I salute you . I really do. I think 50% quota is only for you . All of you. I really hope that you know how much you are appreciated on this earth and in skies.
11. To girls who are pursuing gynaecology , surgery or a difficult field, you are the best of us. In Pakistan where maternal and neonatal mortality is rampant , if you are saving one mother every year, you are practically a saint in my eyes.
So what should be done ? I think the answer to this problem is multi factorial as we like to say.
- It lies in pushing for quota but even more importantly in better wages. So the guys and the girls going abroad or planning to do that will have an incentive to come back.
- Raising the pay in villages and town by a considerable amount (as done in many countries ) will also be a step in right direction.
- Equally important is the fact that we have to make our clinical fields women-friendly with proper day-care and flexible timings (and maternity leaves ) because it's very easy to critisize women (we have been doing that since Eve ) but it's much harder to walk in an average woman's much less a woman doctor's shoes even for a day.