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Objective: To explore the perceptions of students and faculty about gender bias during assessments in undergraduate medical education.
Material and Method: The study was conducted at a Public and Private Medical College in Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pakistan, from June 2020 to October 2020. It was a qualitative study with a phenomenological approach in which, 4 focal group interviews with undergraduate medical students and 10 individual interviews with faculty members were undertaken by using a validated semi-structured interview guide. The interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. The thematic analysis of the data was done where codes were developed and arranged in different categories giving rise to discrete themes. Data triangulation from students and faculty results was done for convergence and correspondence to increase the credibility and authenticity of the study.
Results: Out of 24 students and 10 faculty members, half of the participants were females who shared their perceptions about gender bias in medical education. The analysis revealed 30 codes that were labeled and collated into 9 categories. The themes deducted from these categories were Lack of awareness, discriminatory attitude, the societal projection of the phenomenon, and the gendered climate in medical education.
Conclusion: Most of the students are not aware of the concept of gender bias. The study emphasizes that bias is a natural phenomenon but society and culture multiply the effect of this phenomenon. Most of the participants do believe that the assessment environment is made more comfortable and positive for female students. The study also revealed that gendered cultures of learning and assessment still exist in Gynaecology/Obstetrics and General Surgery departments.
Keywords: Gender bias, Assessment, Undergraduate Medical Education
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