Berlin - Susanne Johna has an extraordinary professional career. The specialist in internal medicine, who works as senior physician at St.-Josefs-Hospital Rheingau, was elected to the board at the German Medical Congress in 2016. She is member of the Presidium of the State Medical Association of Hesse and was elected to the board of the Marburger Bund () in November 2016.
Five questions to Susanne Johna.
DÄ: strong> In your opinion, what are the reasons why relatively few women are active in professional-political bodies in the medical profession?
Susanne Johna: One important reason is certainly that women usually have double burden shoulders from work and family. That still applies to the younger generation, albeit perhaps little less pronounced. In this respect, women simply lack time freedom. Sometimes, however, women doctors lack courage and the willingness to trust themselves more. Sometimes you have to be ready to run against male candidate.
DÄ: Have you encountered any obstacles on your way to your office? Johna: strong > I was very actively supported by medical colleague, Ursula Stüwe, the former president of the Hessen Medical Association. But yes, you come across the fact, especially when it comes to higher offices, that networking works better among men and cannot even work between the few women on committee if that's the only thing that matters. For example, if there are 15 men on committee and only three women, the female candidate has no chance if the men do not want her. Ultimately, you need the support of men - there is nothing wrong with that. Even with candidacy it is not about the question of woman or man. Nevertheless, I have sometimes experienced that choice is reduced to that - completely unnecessarily.
DÄ: How do you reconcile committee work with your work as senior physician and with your family? < strong> Johna: It is important to come to an agreement with your partner. My husband is cardiologist and thinks it is very important to be involved in professional politics, and we decided together that I would do it. It is certainly also question of type whether one is prepared to express one's own opinion in public.
Now that my children are almost grown up, they were born in 1997 and 1999, I of course have little more freedom. But I already expanded my professional commitment in 2004 when the children were still relatively small. I was elected to the delegates' assembly. My husband supported me as much as possible, but he also works more of 50-hour week.We then looked at which activities could be assigned to external shoulders. It then comes down to the topics of domestic help and child care, so that you can really use the time you have with the family and not clean and wash.
DÄ: strong > What advice would you give to young women doctors who are interested in professional politics, but who may still shy away from getting involved? Johna: The focus is of course on the information about self-administration and thus also about design options. Positive examples are also important. I hope to be able to set an example for many myself. Unfortunately, often only problems in self-administration are reported. But even if you take small steps, you can actually achieve goals. Personally, I also find working together with colleagues very enriching. It is important to put the positive aspects of engagement first and to realize that this also includes good organization in other areas.
Personally, even when the children grew up, I am not back I worked full-time because it was clear to me that I wanted to get more involved in professional politics. To do this, you also need time. I work part-time in my clinic as senior physician. I am convinced that you can take career steps with reduced working hours. It's not like it was 20 years ago - just because of the shortage of doctors, you can now make career with part-time job.
DÄ: The chairwoman of the German Medical Association, Christiane Groß, was against quota for women for long time, but is now in favor of it. What do you think of quota system? Johna: I went through similar change. In the meantime, I am also convinced that we can only achieve relevant changes in the foreseeable future if we introduce quota system in stages. If we introduce phased quota system, there will be need everywhere in the committees to see where there are colleagues who are committed and how one can make it easier for these women to get started.
Of course, it has now become basic understanding because women should be represented in professional politics, and many women doctors find it easier to get into professional politics as result. But it is still difficult to get specific candidacy, especially for more important posts. At some point something will change just because of the distribution in the working medical profession, but there is still very long way to go. A gradual quota regulation is important in order to promote the participation of women in committees more quickly. In addition to gender equality, it is also important to promote intergenerational equity.