A letter to readers from our Co-Editor-In-Chief Dr. Archana Shrestha:
Why am I so passionate about uplifting, empowering and advocating for women doctors?
It’s not just because of my own personal struggles and challenges throughout medicine. It’s not to prove wrong all the people who told me I wasn’t smart enough, good enough or capable enough. But it actually goes all the way back to a generation ago.
I grew up around medicine. My mom is now a retired family physician who was in private practice for over 35 years. Growing up sometimes she’d take me on rounds with her to the hospital, and when I was a teenager I worked in her office as the secretary on Saturdays. While my mom’s patients and friends considered my mom a superwoman for being a doctor in solo practice, a mother of three children and engaged community leader, what she was feeling on the inside was a different story.
Launching her career in the 1970’s and 80’s, she battled massive gender discrimination and imposter syndrome at work and mom guilt and superwoman complex at home. Meanwhile she sacrificed so much of physical and mental well-being to be able to juggle her career and family life.
She was dealing with so much, yet she didn’t have anyone advocating for her, supporting her or trying to uplift her. She didn’t have much support from neighbors, friends or extended family. And she didn’t have a community of women doctors to connect with or anyone to guide her, mentor her or coach her to succeed in medicine.
A few days ago, we had a Women in White Coats virtual happy hour. One theme that keeps coming up in the happy hours and our virtual events is how we are all going through so many of the same challenges, yet so many of us are lonely and without support. I don’t want other women doctors to feel alone like my mom did, like I did early on in my career.
We are all in this together facing similar obstacles, and when we come together and create a space for sister docs to hear one another and support one another that can make all the difference in the world. That’s why we have created the Women in White Coats Doctors’ Lounge and our Burn Bright Course and Coaching and why we wrote “The Chronicles of Women in White Coats 2” book. (The book launches today and in my chapter I dive deeper into superwoman syndrome.)
Advocating for women doctors is at the heart of everything we do, and we encourage you to be an active member of our Women in White Coats tribe (by first subscribing to our email list) so that we can help uplift and support you as well. Now more than ever, we want you to know that you are not alone.
To uplifting one another!
Dr. Archana Shrestha
Women in White Coats Blog