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Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco found that physicians who were also mothers faced discrimination at work. The study was inspired by comments made by female doctors on an online forum called Physicians Moms Group. Researchers created a series of questions that asked respondents to discuss their working conditions and whether they had experienced burnout or had been discriminated against.

Of the nearly 6,000 women who had responded to the survey, more than three-quarters said that they had been discriminated against at work. Of those who had experienced discrimination, 66 percent said that they experienced gender discrimination while 35 percent said that they have been the victim of maternal discrimination. The most common forms of maternal discrimination according to the survey were related to being pregnant or taking maternity leave. Breast feeding was another common source of discrimination, which surprised researchers because it is a generally accepted fact in the medical community that breast milk is good for babies.

Furthermore, about 39 percent reported being disrespected by their colleagues. Disrespectful behaviors included not being consulted regarding administrative decisions or being paid less than their male colleagues. The fact that women doctors may be paid less than their male colleagues has been borne out in other research. Additionally, women doctors are less likely to be promoted than their male counterparts.

Those who have faced harassment or discrimination in the workplace based on gender or any other prohibited reason may wish to talk with an attorney. Legal counsel may be able to help gather evidence that may form the basis of a successful claim if the matter is unable to be resolved internally.

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