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Where have all the men gone?

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 01 April 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:0404170
  1. Karen Hebert, third year medical student1
  1. 1University of Bristol

The number of men choosing to become doctors is dwindling. Karen Herbert considers why

During the past few years many of you will have noticed that the number of male medical students has been steadily diminishing. Although most medical schools try to widen participation among people from ethnic minorities and disadvantaged socioeconomic groups, little attention is paid to the dwindling representation of men. Not only does this have implications for medical students but also for the future medical workforce.

In 1996, 46% of UK university medical and dentistry students were men. In 2002, this had decreased to 39%, according to the BMA's equal opportunities committee. In 2001, more than a third of general practitioners in England and Wales were women, and more than three fifths of general practitioner registrars were women.1 In the same year, a third of all hospital medical staff in England and Wales were women. However, a greater proportion of junior doctors were women. In 2001, 43% of registrars, senior house officers, and house officers were women.2

Anecdotal evidence seems to agree.

Charlotte Allan, a medical student from Leeds University, estimates “the female to male ratio is about 60:40. However, this is probably more like 40:60 among hospital doctors and 10:90 among consultants. More women are going into medicine because …

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