16 Laila and the Doctor, A Story ~ By Kira Ng

By Kira Ng, Montgomery College, Maryland

“I stand at the center of a world that needs to eliminate discrimination in women’s health care.”

A Story

Laila watched the doctor. With his white lab coat, glasses sitting on the bridge of his nose, and upright posture, he looked like the textbook definition of a doctor. It didn’t escape Laila that he was also white. She shifted, making the paper crinkle. He had been reading the papers that held her medical history for what felt like twenty minutes (though the clock showed it had only been two), frowning a couple times but saying nothing the entire time.

“So you’re having abdominal pain,” he finally said, setting down the papers.

Laila nodded. The pain had started two weeks ago. At first she thought it would go away, eating a little bit healthier or exercising might help. But it persisted, and she found it getting harder and harder to go about her daily life.

“I also see this is a second doctor’s visit,” he said, eyes shifting to the paper.

“I wanted a second opinion,” Laila said. She was beginning to think this was a waste of her time and money. She was beginning to think this was a waste of her time and money. If she was being honest, she knew it from the moment he stepped into the patient room, another white male doctor who would tell her to stop eating carbs, or to go on a run. Even if she told  him she had been doing that for the past two weeks, she knew he wouldn’t believe her. She listened as he repeated the same words she expected, explaining that diet and physical activity is of the utmost importance. She stopped herself from rolling her eyes.

“How about we check in again in two weeks?” He asked.

Laila tried her best not to glare at him. “I’d actually like to get another opinion.”

From the United Nations Video Library ~ “Emma Watson at the HeForShe Campaign” September 2014 (13:15)

Video Summary and Quotes

Emma Watson spoke on the feminist movement in 2014 to push for equality within feminism to bring men into the conversation and inspire them to join the conversation. She emphasizes the need for everyone to be involved to create change.

“I think it is right that I should be able to make decisions about my own body.”

This phrase seems so simple and yet exemplifies how feminism truly has not achieved its goals. While women are getting increasing autonomy, abortion laws and other restrictions on reproductive health show that women are not seen as equal humans. Until women have the full right to make decisions on their bodies, gender equality has not been achieved.

“How can we affect change in the world when only half of it is invited or feel welcome to participate in the conversation?”

This quote highlights the main part of the speech, as equality cannot be achieved when those in power are not making changes. Women can discuss what needs to be done, but for change to happen, those in power must also change their ways. Women can discuss what needs to be done, but for change to happen, those in power must also change their ways. This can be done by force, but it is simpler and easier if men feel as though the feminist movement will help them as well as women. Male doctors need to understand feminism to be able to treat their patients fairly, and adequately meet their needs. They might not recognize their inherent biases, and becoming a part of the feminist movement can help enlighten them. In my story, the doctor dismisses Laila’s health problems and blames her. To fully treat all patients equally, doctors should not take gender into consideration when evaluating the sincerity of symptoms.

A Strong Institution Can Help ~ United Nations Population Fund

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is an organization that is dedicated to sexual and reproductive health around the world. It is an agency in the United Nations and was created in 1969 with the goal of spreading safe sexual and reproductive health, to help create safer births and pregnancies, and to prevent gender based violence.

“Every individual has the right to make their own choices about their sexual and reproductive health. UNFPA, together with a wide range of partners, works toward the goal of universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights, including family planning.”

They emphasize the importance of informed decision making, and declare that it is a universal right for an individual to make these decisions.

It is a strong and sustainable institution as it works towards the goal of gender equality. Gender equality is only possible when women are treated equally and are given access to good healthcare.



UN SDG Goal 16: Student Work Copyright © by Students in Maryland, Arizona and British Columbia. All Rights Reserved.

Share This Book