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Are there too many female medical graduates? Yes

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 03 April 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:748
  1. Brian McKinstry, senior research fellow
  1. 1Community Health Sciences: General Practice Section, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH8 9DX
  1. brian.mckinstry{at}

UK universities are now producing more female doctors than male. Brian McKinstry argues we are risking future staffing problems, but Jane Dacre (doi: 10.1136/bmj.39505.566701.94) thinks there is still some way to go before we reach true equality

Too many female graduates are bad for medicine, just as too many male ones have been in the past. The numbers of men and women entering medical school should roughly reflect the numbers in society. The case for this is simply on grounds of equal opportunity. But there are also strong economic and workforce planning reasons. I will argue this largely from the perspective of my own specialty, general practice, which illustrates most strongly the impact of the feminisation of medicine.

Over the past 30 years the proportion of women attending medical schools has steadily risen in many countries including the UK, US, Canada, and Australia.1 2 In 2002-3, all UK medical schools had more female students than male, with the percentage of women exceeding 65% in some.3 This partly reflects the increasing number of women applying for medical courses …

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