August 31, 2015
It all started on an ordinary Wednesday in early August.
Heather Logghe, MD, a resident in surgery at UNC Hospitals, had been following media coverage about #iLookLikeAnEngineer -- a hashtag created by software engineer Isis Anchalee in response to negative feedback she received after being featured in an ad for her company. These comments suggested that Anchalee was not a believable example of what a "female software engineer looks like."
Anchalee responded with a blog post that included a picture of herself holding a sign that read, "I HELP BUILD ENTERPRISE SOFTWARE. #iLOOKLIKEAnEngineer." This touched a chord with many other women engineers, who followed Anchalee's example and tweeted pictures of themselves with the hashtag. Extensive media coverage followed, including a story published by The New York Times on August 5th.
In response to the New York Times story, Logghe tweeted, "Hashtag Aims to Break Gender Stereotypes in Engineering - Is #ilooklikeasurgeon next?" Within a few days, women surgeons all over the world began tweeting pictures of themselves and tagging them with Logghe's hashtag.
Logghe tweeted a picture of herself wearing scrubs and holding her baby daughter. And soon she found herself doing media interviews about the incredible response her hashtag had generated -- LOTS of media interviews. A few notable examples: stories on Boston.com, the TODAY show, and BBC Trending.
"The media coverage of #ILookLikeASurgeon has been phenomenal, with articles on the Today Show website, KevinMD.com, German Spiegel, as well as Boston, New York, France, and Australia press. It has also been covered by the BBC both in print and on radio," she said. "The original blog post has been read nearly 7,000 times. There have been multiple guest blog posts since that time and they have been read thousands of times as well. One well-received guest post was by UNC's Nancy Ho, NP."
"While the movement initially emphasized women in surgery, it has expanded to include broadly defined diversity. A recent guest blog post was written by a surgeon who identifies as queer. The movement has emphasized 'humanizing the profession', aiming to promote diversity and inclusion as well as inspire a global surgical community," Logghe said.