Local View: Insist on equality for women, no matter what

From the column: "(Women) have come a long way, but there is still a long way to go."

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When I think about International Women’s Day today, I think about women achieving their dreams.

As an obstetrician-gynecologist, I help guide women through meaningful transitions in their lives. I enjoy educating them about what to expect and giving them knowledge to make decisions about their health care and well-being. I am grateful to work in an environment where my voice is heard and respected. I am fortunate to work in an all-female practice that advocates for the women we care for each day.

I know I am privileged to have this job. Even a few decades ago a female doctor was an oddity.

My mother is a role model of mine. She wanted to become a doctor, but her family physician told her it would be too hard for a woman in the 1960s.

Fast forward to my medical-school class, which was 40% women. Medical schools now graduate over 50% women. I hope my teenage daughters will never be told what they want to do is “too hard for a woman.” I am grateful to the pioneering women in medicine who paved a way for me to do what I love.


When I think about International Women’s Day, I also think about the phrase, “Equality, no matter what.” There is still a significant pay gap in many organizations. The United Nations reports that women make 77 cents for every dollar men make. We are also often underrepresented in decision-making roles in the workplace.

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated this gap, since women were overrepresented in frontline-worker roles and often had more responsibilities at home.

In addition, reproductive rights in our country have been eroded. This disproportionately affects women, especially women of color. Not letting women decide when it is the right time for them to be parents only contributes to the gender gaps.

We have come a long way, but there is still a long way to go.

Dr. Jennifer Boyle is an OB-GYN and chief of staff at St. Luke’s in Duluth.

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Dr. Jennifer Boyle

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