A simple magazine cover has the power to inspire action — just ask Dr. Susan Pitt, an endocrine surgeon at the University of Wisconsin.
After seeing a recent New Yorker cover illustration by artist Malike Favre of four female surgeons prepped in gowns and masks peering down over an operating table, she set out to recreate the image IRL and encourage women surgeons around the world to join in.
"When I saw the cover of The New Yorker, I was blown away by the fact there was a female surgeon out there for everyone to see," Pitt told Mashable. "The surgical field has traditionally been dominated by men, and I loved that Malika Favre was not influenced by that stereotype."
Since the issue came out right before she attended an annual American Association of Endocrine Surgeons meeting, she knew she had to replicate it.
Once she arrived at the Orlando conference, Pitt and a group of women surgeons replicated the photo in their everyday attire, and using the hashtag #ILookLikeASurgeon, she shared the photo alongside the New Yorker cover.
— Susan Pitt (@susieQP8) April 4, 2017
Pitt challenged other women surgeons to post their own renditions of the cover, and from New York to Brazil women proudly strapped on their surgical masks, gloves, and caps to recreate the pose with their co-workers.
"I am completely and utterly blown away," Pitt said about the response her challenge received. "It is astounding to see the response of women surgeons and physicians all over the world."
— Heather Yeo MD (@heatheryeomd) April 6, 2017
— Sareh Parangi,MD (@SarehParangiMD) April 6, 2017
— M.C.Nguyen MD, MPH (@michellechii215) April 10, 2017
"I hope that people recognize surgeons come in all genders and races." Pitt said, explaining hopes the photo enlightens others and draws attention to the pay gap and other inequities in the medical/ STEM fields.
A study published last year in JAMA Internal Medicine found that female doctors make nearly $20,000 less on average than their male colleagues.
"In surgery, there’s been a strong movement in the past couple of years towards equality," she told Buzzfeed. "In the context of our field, the timing of the Malika Favre cover was perfect for women to rally around."