Royal College battles for more women surgeons
The Royal College of Surgeons has announced plans to increase the number of women consultants but it will be many years before domination by men comes to an end.
Currently, only 5% of the United Kingdom's 4190 consultant surgeons are women. The college wants to double this to 10% within five years and double it again to at least 20% by 2009.
“These are ambitious but realistic targets,” said college president Barry Jackson. “I am confident we will meet them.”
He dismissed as “absolute nonsense” the stereotype that certain branches of surgery are too physically demanding for women. “Women are a very tough sex. There is no evidence that they cannot do long hours or arduous duties.” As for orthopaedics, he said it was the “carpentry ethos” which put women off not the physical demands.
He admitted, however, that some specialties such as cardiothoracic surgery and neurosurgery did not appeal