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Medicine—a woman’s world?

Is the rising number of women in UK medicine leading to overfeminisation?

  • By: Maham Khan
  • Published: 29 November 2011
  • DOI: 10.1136/sbmj.d7495
  • Cite this as: BMJ 2011;19:d7495

Scandal broke out in 2004, when the then president of the Royal College of Physicians in London, Professor Dame Carol Black, was quoted as saying, “We are feminising medicine. It has been a profession dominated by white males. What are we going to have to do to ensure it retains its influence?”.1 This sparked headlines of “Women docs weakening medicine” and was further aggravated by a report from the Royal College of Physicians, which showed that most of the medical workforce will be women by 2017.12

Elizabeth Garrett Anderson was the first woman to graduate as a doctor in Britain and 2011 marks her 175th birthday,3 but the press has dubbed the rise in women doctors as “worrying” rather than celebrating her legacy and women doctors’ road to equality.4 Headlines warn the public a female future is one of “shortages in critical areas”5 and “bad for medicine.”4 In times where

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