When Dr Joan Arakkal chooses to specialise in orthopaedics while training in India, a field traditionally occupied by men, she slots into the world of bones with relative ease.
But when her career takes her to the UK, and then Australia, she encounters the ‘bonemen’ – a boy’s club whose members are easily identified in the hospital corridors by their loud voices and self-assured swagger, who wield a stranglehold on orthopaedics.
Joan is totally unprepared for the obstacles and prejudices she encounters – but the tables are turned when she suffers a health scare of her own, which ultimately gives her the perspective she needs to speak and fight without fear.
A provocative reflection on the discrimination and sexism entrenched in the surgical community, and particularly the world of orthopaedics, Slice Girls shines light on a surgical path that is made needlessly challenging for women, and finds that while women are ready for surgery, it forces the question: is surgery ready for women?
Joan Arakkal is an orthopaedic surgeon who grew up and trained in India, before moving to the UK where she was admitted as a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons. She later migrated to Australia where she currently works. She is the recipient of several academic and research awards in India and Australia. She lives in Perth with her husband and two children. Slice Girls is her first book.