Chief medical officer post goes to woman for first timeBMJ 2011; 342 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d1469 (Published 04 March 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d1469
All rapid responses
It has been a celebratory week to be a woman; For starters, the
appointment of the First Female Chief Medical Officer in 156 years, Prof
Dame Sally Davies. Although interim in post following the resignation of
Sir Liam in May 2010, Prof Sally took up her permanent position from March
3rd 2011. This momentous appointment happily coincided in the March
calendar with International Women's Day (08/3/11). Both big celebratory
occasions, no? Both intrinsically connected to Public Health, People,
Populations, Politics, Policy, Procreation, and er, Annie Lennox... (?)
...Well, no not for the BMJ.
Instead we have a small piece in the news section (BMJ
2011;342:d1469) not only copied pretty much verbatim from the DH press
release (See here
http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/MediaCentre/Pressreleases/DH_124820) but with an
opening focusing on her salary (large) and her other positions in the NIHR
(too busy?). This was accompanied by a small picture with the tagline
"Sally Davies will keep her position at the NIHR", not the very lovely
beaming profile pic from the DH website with a tagline more suited to the
historic fact WE HAVE THE FIRST FEMALE CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER FOR THE
UNITED KINGDOM SINCE 1855! AND THIS WEEK IS INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY!!
LET'S HEAR IT FOR THE GIRLS!!
Well, so no, nothing of interest here for the BMJ. Despite the fact
women have been registering as medical doctors in the UK since 1859
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Blackwell) and probably make up
their fair share of BMA members and BMJ readership (at least 50%?)
To add insult to injury, one only need turn to the back page of this
current BMJ to read the 'advert' from Foy & Associataes, headed "Are
You Single?"...I cannot even begin to express the many, MANY ways I find
this offensive as a female doctor reading a medical journal. YES, a
JOURNAL. Of MEDICINE. Not a lads' mag. Come on Fiona!! (@Fgodlee for those
who are prone to a bit of tweeting, firstname.lastname@example.org for those that are
So, no point complaining if one cannot offer a solution:
1) A proper piece on Prof Dame Sally Davies and her marvelous achievement
2) A belated celebration of all the wonderful women involved in Health in
the UK, and indeed around the world.
3) A refusal to print naff ads for women soliciting male doctors. Or vice
4) Someone to show the Woman advertising through 'Foy & Associates'
this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkp4t5NYzVM Then to tell her to have
some fun, stop looking so hard, and celebrate the talented intelligent
beautiful woman she obviously is.
And please BMJ, even Dimitry Medvedev of Russia had something
positive to say about Women this week: "To all women, we wish you a happy
International Women's Day! Enjoy spring warmth and high spirits! We love
you!" (Twitter 8/3/2011 @MedvedevRussiaE )
Competing interests: In possession of an 'XX' chromosomal pair.