Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature Interview

Clare Marx: “No one said to me this is a world you cannot enter”

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 03 February 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h462
  1. Luisa Dillner, head of BMJ research and development, BMJ, London, UK
  1. ldillner{at}

Six months after she became the first female president of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, Clare Marx talks to Luisa Dillner about why she got the job and what she hopes to achieve

If Clare Marx is tired of being asked what it is like to be the first woman president of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, she is too gracious to show it. Her response is to show me how, since she took on the role in July last year, she has replaced the pictures of dead men that framed her presidential office with those of women surgeons who are very much alive. She works mostly in the small, modern room next door.

Marx’s election in April 2014 was the first in the college’s 214 year history in which members of the college council took part in a regular voting process. “Before then it was like voting for the pope,” she explains. “You went into this room, and names emerged from the voting papers until someone was selected.” Ten people stood, and Marx won. Was she surprised?

Apparently not. “The college was changing,” she says, “It would be nice to think I was the best person for the job, but I …

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