Campaign Day: MHB against sexism

Neuruppin, 3 December 2019

Report by MHB medical student Helen Deimel

The first campaign day against sexism took place at the Brandenburg Medical School (MHB) on Monday, 2 December 2019. Students had founded a team to oppose sexism and initiated the day of action as a first step to raise awareness of the topic among students and instructors at the MHB.

Prior to the event, the student team had conducted a survey to assess the degree to which MHB members are aware of gender-associated discrimination. Findings from 217 responders were presented at the start of the campaign day and indicated the incidence of sexism in daily life and the need to address the problem. One of the surprising results of the survey, so a co-organizer, was that men are affected by this type of discrimination to approximately the same extent as women.

The campaign day offered different formats of engaging with the issue, such as presentations, a workshop, a movie and a poster exhibition, and also room for debate in a pleasant setting with mulled wine and cakes. The range of speakers included a board member of a Berlin women’s centre, the Charitè’s equal opportunities student representative, the author of an equality booklet, and the MHB professor of anatomy. They contributed thoughts and statements on topics such as sexism in language, strategic and organisational development on the topics of sexualised violence and sexist discrimination, masculinity in the 21st century, and anatomy in relation to gender.

A workshop in parallel with these lectures addressed ways to respond to sexist statements. The organisers reported much positive feedback, specifically for the workshop with its many direct and personal references: “Our impression is that the issue is still new and unfamiliar for students and teachers alike. Topics such as abortion and gender medicine figure only marginally in the medical curriculum. As a further result of the survey and the campaign day, we plan to introduce training courses on sexism issues for teachers and students and also a focus on gender-specific medicine. We are well aware that we are privileged to study at the MHB, and see our campaign day and our dedication to the topic as one way to proactively shape the profile of our university.”