Earning your entry into a rewarding professional career like a surgeon is stressful enough without unwanted sexual advances. However, many women say they were subjected to sexual harassment while training to earn entry into their medical careers as orthopedic surgeons. Both California and federal laws ban workplace sexual harassment, which includes protections in training programs for those seeking entry into professional fields.

Very high rate affirms extensive problem

The Ruth Jackson Orthopaedic Society recently surveyed 250 members of the society comprised of women orthopedic surgeons to learn about the pervasiveness of sexual harassment during their training. Survey results showed that 171 respondents said they experienced sexual harassment while training to become orthopedic surgeons. That is a rate of 68% and affirms the pervasive nature of sexual harassment even among highly educated and highly skilled women.

Obscene images are the top offenses

Some 29% of survey respondents cited the circulation of obscene images as the most pervasive offense. Unwanted touching accounted for 21% of offenses followed by unwelcome invitations that were sexual in nature. Male doctors and surgeons were cited as the offenders in 71% of cases. Patients also contributed to the harassment with 43% of survey respondents saying male patients sexually harassed them during their training.

Relatively few reported sexual harassment

Although a large majority of those surveyed said they endured harassment while training, only 15% of those respondents said they reported it to a supervisor or local law enforcement. Sexual harassment is never acceptable in the workplace, and California has very strong laws against it. Women are entering professional fields at growing rates, which means the problem might persist at a high level if victims do not feel empowered to put a stop to the problem. An experienced attorney may help you learn more about fighting such harassment if you are a victim.