The courage of Iran’s citizens and physicians fills me with awe as a doctor and woman. In June 2009, I was awarded with a prestigious prize at the inaugural Women in Medicine (WiM) conference in Toronto, Canada. I was honored to be the first woman from Iran to receive this award at such an esteemed gathering of renowned and well-known professors of medicine from around the world. It was a proud moment for me to receive this award from my friend and mentor Dr. Gohar Ghahraman, a pioneer of modern women physicians, in his capacity as president of the University of Toronto College of Family Physicians. In this special edition of Women of the Future, I will share with you the story of Iran’s women physicians who are fighting the odds for a brighter future in their country.
As a woman in medical school, I faced the traditional gender roles in my field of medicine. I always felt a sense of shame, wondering how the Iranian women could excel in this field. I experienced women doctors being treated like a second class citizen when they were hired into male-dominated wards during medical school interviews. Women were taught to accept this inferior status during the undergraduate and graduate years of their medical education.
I decided to pursue a career in obstetrics and gynecology as a first step, to better integrate medicine into my life as a woman. I applied for and was accepted into Mehravardi Hospital’s obstetrics and gynecology residency program in Tehran. I completed my residency in Tehran before applying to do a fellowship in Obstetrics and Gynecology in Washington. I was accepted to the OB/GYN residency program at Georgetown University Hospital, where I have been able to work as an attending in the obstetrics and gynecology department since September 2013. I feel very fortunate to have been accepted to train as an OB/GYN doctor in Canada, and to have received the prestigious Women in Medicine award from the family physician, Dr. Ghahraman, in Toronto.
I was born to an Iranian father in Tehran, and have