As I was getting ready for bed last night a friend shared a tweet that immediately caught my attention.

The tweet was of a
paper that has just been published online, titled “Does physician gender
have a significant impact on first-pass success rate of emergency endotracheal
intubation?” and showed the abstract which began,

It is unknown whether female physicians can perform equivalently to male physicians with respect to emergency procedures.

Understandably, this got the backs up of a
lot of people, myself included. Who on earth thinks that’s a valid question to
be researching in this day and age? Are we really still having to battle
assumptions of female inferiority when it comes to things like this? Who on
earth gave this ethics approval, let alone got it though peer review?

I then took a deep breath and asked myself
why a respected journal, The American Journal of Emergency Medicine,
would publish such idiocy. Maybe there was something else going on. The best
way to find out is to read the paper so I got a copy and started reading. The
first thing that struck me was the author affiliations – both are associated
with hospitals in Seoul, South Korea. The second author had an online profile,
he is a Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine. I couldn’t find the first
author anywhere which made me think they are probably quite early in their
career. The subject matter wasn’t something I could imagine a male early career
researcher being interested in so figured they are probably female (not knowing
Korean names I couldn’t work out if the name was feminine or masculine).

This immediately gave it a different slant.
Sexism is a massive problem in Korea. Gender roles are heavily enforced and gender inequality is among the worst in the world. At the beginning of this year
its neighbour Japan announced that women have been outperforming men in medical entrance exams since

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