• Naomi Yarwood

Female Doctors Hitting Glass Ceilings?

An article in January this year in The Conversation set to highlight that despite gender equality coming a long way in the last few decades, women are still largely under-represented in positions of high-power and specialities within medicine.

Much has been said about the increasing numbers of women in medical degrees compared to their male counterparts, leading to an increased number of women entering the medical field. However, their representation at leadership roles within the field does not reflect this growth. The reasons for this are multi-faceted and the article in The Conversation aims to discuss this, quoting that fewer than 12.5 % of hospitals with more than 1000 employees have a female chief executive and that 28% of medical schools have female deans.

This article described what the authors think is a push (conscious or unconscious) for women in medicine to pursue areas of the profession that are considered to be of lower status or attract a lower pay. They also state that rather than women being encouraged to enter into the higher profile roles themselves, their male counterparts are taking the higher profile roles. The reasons the authors of this article give for this include the differing perceptions in capability, capacity and credibility (1).

If we are to encourage our workforce to be equally represented between the genders we should be striving to remove preconceptions about speciality characteristics from as early as pre-university ages. All students, female or male, looking to their future should be confident that they are capable, have the capacity and are credible future leaders in their chosen fields.

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