An Impact Press book

  • Published: 1 February 2019

  • ISBN: 978-1-925384-59-8

  • ISBN ePUB: 978-1-925384-60-4

  • Format: Paperback

  • AU: $29.99

  • eBook: $9.99

  • Categories: Memoir, Feminism

Also available as an ebook from Kobo, Apple and Amazon Kindle

About the Author

Dr 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.

Slice Girls

A female surgeon’s remarkable story of blood, bones and the boys’ club

By Joan Arakkal

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. Their medieval attitudes wield a stranglehold on the development of orthopaedics, compromising patient care.

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, sexism and cartelisation 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?

Praise for Slice Girls

“A moving and intriguing memoir, beautifully written and perfectly timed, with crucial messages for society and the professions.”


“Joan Arakkal’s indomitable spirit and clarity of purpose reflected in Slice Girls is both empowering and inspirational. Joan‘s book is a well-balanced and timely reflection of the attitudes and forces that govern systems of medicine often characterised by a deep-seated resistance to embrace change and lobbying by practitioners to protect their own interests.” DR RUJUTA MEHTA, WOMEN ORTHOPAEDIC SURGEONS OF INDIAN ORTHOPAEDIC ASSOCIATION

“I really enjoyed reading Slice Girls by Dr. Joan Arakkal, the true story of a highly qualified young woman’s battle to penetrate the male dominated and opaque world of the Australian orthopaedic (and other specialist fraternities)… this is a cheerful and very readable book which will introduce aspiring medicos to the joys of medical practice, where, even in surgery, the reward comes from interacting with ordinary people, and fixing them.”

In the Media

Listen to Joan Arakkal on ABC Conversations here

Listen to Joan Arakkal on Life Matters here

Listen to Joan Arakkal on The Wire here

Listen to Joan Arakkal live from the Margaret River Writers’ Festival 2019 here