Intended for healthcare professionals

Head To Head

Are there too many female medical graduates? No

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 03 April 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:749
  1. Jane Dacre, vice dean, academic vice president
  1. 1Faculty of Biomedical Sciences, University College London, London WC1E 6BT
  2. 2Royal College of Physicians, London
  1. jdacre{at}

UK universities are now producing more female doctors than male. Brian McKinstry (doi: 10.1136/bmj.39505.491065.94) argues we are risking future staffing problems, but Jane Dacre thinks there is still some way to go before we reach true equality

Medicine needs and wants to attract the best and brightest people, whatever their sex. Some patients prefer to see the same sex doctor as themselves1 2—so we should ideally have equal numbers of men and women.

As the first female dean of Duke University School of Medicine said incredulously, after her appointment had made the headlines on national public radio, “Brilliance and ability are not restricted to certain groups, so it seems logical that if they draw from the widest possible talent pool, the very best institutions will naturally have diversity at all levels.”3

Medicine is a caring profession. The attributes of the doctor as documented in the UK General Medical Council’s Good Medical Practice include care, consideration, dignity, and respect.4 The Royal College of Physicians working party on medical professionalism has agreed …

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