Monday, 23 January 2012


In these days when ladies comprise at least 50% of medical school intakes it is often forgotten how dominated the profession was by males until surprisingly recently. 

Today is the anniversary of the graduation of Elizabeth Blackwell from medical school, who, in 1859, was the first woman ever to appear on the British medical register. Unsurprisingly she encountered great difficulty in finding employment.

There is no doubt that the medical profession has come a long way in just 150 years in it’s attitude to women, but we should not be too smug. There is still a significant degree of entrenched conservatism in our profession and women are still grossly underrepresented in some specialities, particularly the surgical ones. More unjust is the chronic and persistent disproportion of women among CEA holders. 

We still have a long way to go.


  1. I'm a bit appalled at myself for not knowing who Elizabeth Blackwell was prior to this post. What a lady!

  2. There's still massive prejudice within the profession to any doc who declares themselves part of the LGBT group too. "Who's going to chaparone you when you examine patients" etc. etc. With some notable exceptions, I know very few doctors who are open about this despite estimates varying to 1 in 5 or 1 in 10 of us as a population not being "straight".

  3. Ooops, sorry. I think you made reference to the Pink Paper once so assumed you were up to date on the terminology :-D (Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgendered for thos reading who haven't google it yet).

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