Fig 1: Sandra Lindström, psychologist, with the lecture “The unequal stress”
The Annual Board meeting and the connected Spring Meeting of the Swedish Medical Women’s Association (KLF) took place in Stockholm in March. The theme of the day was “The Unequal Stress”. We learnt that family responsibility and the unequal distribution of housework among heterosexual couples is preventing equality in daily life. There is a correlation between unequal division of workload in family life and stress-related diseases, especially among women. This is a structural issue – something that needs to be handled at a national and international level. Unfortunately, science does not show that preconceptions about gender and family roles are disappearing with younger generations. It is the contrary – young boys are representative with the lowest interest in equality. This is a fact in one of the most equal countries in the world.
On International Women’s Day, the Swedish Medical Association (SLF) published a new report about the workplace environment. Unfortunately, the results were negative and as we expected. The questionnaires were sent out to all 38,000 SLF members and 16,000 responded. Here is the result of the questionnaire in summary:
- More women than men are considering leaving their profession or changing work place.
- More women are working part time than men.
- More women are reporting sick leave due to a negative working environment than men.
- Women are exposed to discrimination and unequal treatment to a higher degree than men.
Fig 2. Right: Vice president of Swedish Medical Women’s Association (KLF) Sofia Kühner. Left: Past Vice President of young Swedish Medical Association (SYLF) Niki Shams.
There is a lack of physicians in Sweden and this has been the situation for many years, which is an explanation of the highly reported rate of illness due to the working environment. The stress due to high workload is an important working environmental issue within the profession.
Equality and a healthy working environment among physicians should be a highly valued priority for our leadership. KLF is continuing our work with the aim of making changes. We are committed to spreading our influence in the community to make a change, engage, and to challenge the unequal norms.
National representative: Med. student HK Ninge (Sweden)