Standing Up against Gender Bias and Harassment — A Matter of Professional Ethics

“We believe health professionals have a moral duty to practice `upstanding’ — intervening as bystanders — in response to sexual harassment and general bias and that this obligation should be described in codes of medical professional ethics and supported within institutional training,” the authors write. While many medical professional societies now mention sexual harassment in their ethical codes, these guidelines fall short in that they do not encourage professionals to respond to the behaviors and intervene when they become aware of discrimination or harassment. The only large specialty society whose guidelines contain “aspirational advice” to stop sexual harassment in its tracks is the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons.