When I first had the idea of becoming a doctor in the 1960's, I was definitely not fitting in to the expectations of my guidance counselor at my Midwest High School. He encouraged me to write an essay about the job of medical technologist. I did, and although it sounded interesting, I knew that career was not for me.
A distant family relative from Israel who had studied medicine in Italy and now practiced gynecology in the US, provided my first opportunity to meet a woman who was a physician. She was lovely, stylishly dressed, bright, and very confident. When I met her, I experienced a major change in my ideas about what a woman, and myself in particular, could choose to do. She was also married and had children. She had it all. A male biology teacher in ninth grade was also encouraging.
My mother wanted me to have an education and work, but at one time I thought that she would have preferred for me to marry a doctor, rather than be one. She worried that if I entered such a demanding profession, I would not have time for marriage and a family.
I knew that I was going against the tide as I took pre-med courses and applied to medical school. Although I was often stereotyped as 'Minnesota nice' I enjoyed being a bit of a rebel. In medical school, I was definitely in the minority, there were only 10% women at both University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine where I spent my first two years, and Harvard, where I spent the last two...
As years have gone by, it is much more common for women to be physicians. My practice as a physician and psychiatrist has always felt connected to traditions of caretakers and healers. My interest in working with children, adolescents, and families, men included, fits into more traditional women's roles. My clinical work and advocacy in the areas of child abuse and sexual abuse also seems very consistent with my identity as a woman.
How to Cite This Page
For a bibliography:
Jewish Women's Archive. "Jewish Women's Archive - Women Who Dared - Renee Brant on TRADITIONAL ROLES." <http://jwa.org/exhibits/wwd/jsp/fullAnswer.jsp>.
For a footnote:
Jewish Women's Archive, "Jewish Women's Archive - Women Who Dared - Renee Brant on TRADITIONAL ROLES," <http://jwa.org/exhibits/wwd/jsp/fullAnswer.jsp>.