Women in Medicine

Women now make up 51% of western medical school trainees, yet we are vastly under-represented in specialties, on boards, as heads of department, as leaders of our medical community.

We are as equally interested in everything as men when we embark on our medical training, but somewhere along the way we seem to lose interest… or lose heart. We also earn significantly less than our male colleagues performing similar jobs, even when reduced working hours are taken into account. It is all too easy to say that we work fewer hours, take time off to have families, work part time – but that is certainly not true for all of us.

What is it about the culture of medicine, and the way we are in it, that has created this situation?


What is it about the way we see ourselves and each other that does not allow us to back ourselves or support each other to advance our careers? The current culture of medicine does not suit women, as reflected in their higher levels of psychological distress, and yet, recent studies have shown that patients do better with female doctors.

What can medicine learn from its women doctors?

What are the special qualities that women offer, that are worth honouring, nurturing and bringing to the profession as a whole; that we may all benefit from the beauty that women are and bring?

By Dr Jane Barker and Dr Anne Malatt – Photography by Alan Johnston

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Latest Articles on Women in Medicine

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