Intended for healthcare professionals

Views And Reviews

Outdated career ideals stifle medical women and hurt us all

BMJ 2021; 372 doi: (Published 08 February 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;372:n353
  1. Clare Marx, chair
  1. General Medical Council

Combatting inequality of any kind is an essential part of delivering first class care

It was my pleasure to welcome five brilliant women to the GMC’s council recently.

From ethical leadership to immersive technologies, the expertise they bring with them is testament to the profound impact of women in public life. They’ll fill the seats of five other trailblazing women who have left a wonderful legacy.

The success and standing of these women is also a sign of how things have moved on; when I qualified as a doctor 43 years ago, such representation seemed like an impossible dream.

I have been extremely fortunate to have had inspirational teachers, mentors, and role models throughout my career, all of them men. But I’ve also seen poorly disguised undermining and sexism masquerading as “joking.” I’ve been in roles where people questioned if I was “strong enough” or “had big enough hands” to be an orthopaedic surgeon. Or when I planned to “leave the playing field to …

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