9780374525958 / 0374525951

Walking Out on the Boys


Publisher:Farrar, Straus and Giroux



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About the book:

Here's Frances Conley's description of her medical school anatomy class: "[W]e would become accustomed and oblivious to the fact that little bits of dead flesh would cling to our clothing and our shoes, and entangle in our hair, traveling with us to other classes or even home, as if the dead were making a futile attempt to retain a tenuous tie to the living." Just as she felt overcome by the dead in that class, her neurosurgery career was fraught with sexism and harassment--from her admission as one of just 12 women (out of 60) in her medical school class in 1961 to her decision to resign from Stanford University's School of Medicine 30 years later. Conley has done every patient--and every female doctor--a sincere favor with this memoir of the games that are played within the academic and medical realms. The book has a bad aftertaste, however, because Conley's message is not one of empowerment. She was compelled to resign from her position when the university appointed Dr. Gerald Silverberg as acting chairman of the department. He was later demoted after a sexual harassment investigation and Conley returned to Stanford life, but, as she says, "The academic community has shown little inclination to change 'business as usual.'" Conley, now 57, gives a well-written play-by-play of years of sexual shenanigans and legal proceedings, but offers little in the way of advice for women who find themselves at the receiving end of harassment.

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