When you ask a child, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” the answer invariably changes over time based on their interests at that moment. However, for family physician Dr Renee Boyce, her mind was made up from a very early age.
She told Barbados TODAY, “My mother says from as young as three years old, when my paediatrician was Dr Esther Archer [now deceased], I said I wanted to be a doctor, and everything I did academically was geared towards achieving that goal.”
Many years ago, medicine was a male-dominated field, and according to Dr Boyce, “it is still hard for women to get into fields like obstetrics and gynaecology, but overall the profession is not as elitist as before. In fact, it is fairly easy in this generation for a woman to become a GP.”
Nevertheless, societal stereotypes have not gone away.
“For example people still drop remarks about women being ‘hormonal’ when they act a certain way, and claiming that women make major decisions based on their emotions. I believe any job in this world should be awarded based on the candidate’s ability, and gender should not come into the picture,” she said.
“Let’s face it. Career women essentially have two jobs; one in the workplace and when they get home they still have to cook, clean, iron, look after the children etc., and they are expected to excel in both areas. So how do you manage? A good support system is imperative, and as a woman you must know your limits, recognize you can’t do everything and prioritize, especially as your children grow.”
Dr Boyce shared her thoughts on the current wave of movements fighting against sexual indiscretions by people in prominent positions, such as #MeToo and #Timesup, stating, “If you have been a victim, by all means report it, but I believe there are some celebrities who may be just jumping on the bandwagon and are not really sincere about the cause.”
Regarding the fact that in some cases incidents were reported two decades after they occurred, she conceded that “occasionally victims repress those memories as a coping mechanism, but it will come back to them either based on their current circumstances, or if they hear other women report similar incidents involving the same person.”
The GP, a mother of two children ages nine and five, warned her peers against putting up photos of themselves in skimpy outfits on social media sites.
“You don’t have to dress scantily to look appealing. If you pose half-naked and people put up less than flattering comments on your pictures, bear in mind you put yourself in that position. Before you post them, ask yourself, ‘what kind of legacy do I want to leave?’”
With that in mind, she shared these words of advice:
“Dedicate your life to God; this has kept me throughout my life. Education must come first, and if you capitalize on it, it will open many doors for you. Build your self-esteem, respect yourself, take care of your health, and start saving financially from an early age. Above all, “Aim for the sun – if you miss it you will still land among the stars”.