Feature | A Story of Perseverance: Minority Women in Cardiology

Young women from impoverished parts of rural Mexico are not expected to pursue much education or professional careers. The lack of expectations is driven by many factors, most rooted in our patriarchal society. As a young girl, I became aware of huge gender inequities and feared my fate as a woman. But as I grew older, I was determined to not let poverty and gender inequality hold me back. I committed myself to my own education and set down the path of becoming a doctor.

The process has not been easy. First, I had to leave Mexico as I was unable to afford medical school there and I moved to the U.S. to join my family. Years back, they had moved to Northern Idaho to escape economic hardship. In Mexico, I had experienced gender discrimination, but living in Idaho as a Mexican migrant farm worker was a completely different experience. There are no words to describe how powerless one feels in a foreign country, unable to speak the language and looked down upon because of your appearance. Rather than cower, I took the situation as another obstacle to overcome. I was motivated more than ever to become a leader in my community and sought out opportunities to carry out my original plan to become a doctor. Understandably, most minority women would give up.

This post was authored by Sonia G. Ponce, MD, a fellow in training at the University of New Mexico and a member of the ACC’s Women in Cardiology Member Section.