A critical exploration of the impact of gender disparities on female students and decision-making regarding specialisation whilst at medical school


medical education







General Medical Council. The state of medical education and practice in the UK; the workforce report; 2021. Available from: https://www.gmc-uk.org/-/media/documents/somep-2021-full-report_pdf-88509460.pdf?la=en&hash=058EBC55D983925E454F144AB74DEE6495ED7C98 (accessed 29 December 2021)

NHS England. NHS Digital; International Women’s Day; Women in the NHS workforce report; 2019. Available from: https://digital.nhs.uk/news/2019/international-womens-day-2019 (accessed 7 January 2022)

Rimmer A. Nine in 10 female doctors in UK have experienced sexism at work, says BMA. BMJ 2021;374: 2123. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n2123

Begeny C, Arshad H, Cuming T, et al. Sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape by colleagues in the surgical workforce, and how women and men are living different realities: observational study using NHS population-derived weights. Br JSurgery. 2023;110:1518-1526. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1093/bjs/znad242

Jaffe S. The collective power of #MeToo. Dissent. 2018,65(2):80-87. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1353/dss.2018.0031

Sosa J.A. Editorial: Doubling down on diversity in the wake of #Medbikini controversy. World J Surg. 2020;44:3587-3588. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00268-020-05751-4

Hammond M, Milojev P, Huang Y, Sibley C. Benevolent sexism and hostile sexism across the ages. Soc Psychol Personality Sci. 2017; 9(7):197-211.9. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1177/1948550617727588

Stone L, Phillips C, Douglas K. With the best will in the world: How benevolent sexism shapes medical careers. Med Educ. 2020;54(2):94-97. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1111/medu.14038

Sarlet M, Dumont M, Delacollete N, Dardenne B. Prescription of protective paternalism for men in romantic and work contexts. Psychol Women Quart. 2012;36(4):444-457. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1177/0361684312454842

Webb F, Gibbons K, El-Ahwany N. Tackling sexist inequality in medical school. sexism in medicine. BMJ. 2021; 374:n2302. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n2302

Waisbren SE, Bowles H, Hasan T, et al. Gender differences in research grant applications and funding outcomes for medical school faculty. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2008;17:207214. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1089/jwh.2007.0412

King JT, Angoff NR, Forrest Jr JN, Justice AC. Gender disparities in medical student research awards: A 13 year study from the Yale School of Medicine. Acad Med. 2018;93(6):911-919. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1097/ACM.0000000000002052

Lincoln AE, Pincus S, Koster JB, Leboy PS. The matilda effect in science: awards and prizes in the US, 1990s and 2000s. Soc Stud Sci. 2012;42(2):307-320. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1177/0306312711435830

Pacheco JPG, Silveira JB, Ferreira RPC, Lo K, Schineider J. Giacomin H. Gender inequality and depression among medical students: a global meta regression analysis. J Psychiatr Res. 2019;111:36-43. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychires.2019.01.013

Sagar-Ouriaghil I, Godfrey E, Graham S, Brown J. Improving mental health seeking behaviours for male students: a framework for developing a complex intervention. Int J Environ Res Public Health 2020;17(14):4695. Available from: https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17144965

Yecies E, McNeil M. From the #MeToo frontlines: incoming interns report a breadth of experiences related to sexual harassment in medical school. J Gen Intern Med, 2020;36(4):1132-1133. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-020-05873-4

Kuchynka S, Salomon K, Bosson J, et al. Hostile and benevolent sexism and college womens STEM outcomes. Psychol Women Quart. 2018;42(1):72-87. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1177/0361684317741889

Dardenne B, Dumont M, Bollier T. Insidious dangers of benevolent sexism: consequences for women’s performance. J Pers Soc Psychol. 2007;93(5):764-779. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.93.5.764

Samuriwo R, Patel Y, Webb K, Bullock A. “Man up”: Medical students’ perceptions of gender and learning in clinical practice: A qualitative study. Med Edu. 2019;54(2):150-161. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1111/medu.13959

White C. Medical profession must change to remove gender disparity across specialities, says Academy of Royal Colleges. BMJ. 2014;348:1346. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g1346

Kwon E. ‘‘For passion or for future family?’’ Exploring factors influencing career and family choices of female medical students and residents. Gender Issues. 2017;34(2):186-200. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12147-016-9168-3

Tongeren Alers M, Esch M, Verdonk P, Johansson E, Hamberg K, Lagro-Janssen T. Are new medical students’ speciality preferences gendered? related motivational factors at a Dutch medical school. Teach Learn Med. 2011;23(3):263-268. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1080/10401334.2011.586928

Daily Mail. Why having so many women doctors is hurting the NHS: A provocative but powerful argument from a leading surgeon. 2014 January 2. Available from; https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2532461/Why-having-women-doctors-hurting-NHS-A-provovcative-powerful-argument-leading-surgeon.html (accessed 24 January 2022)

Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management. A response to Professior Meirion Thomas- System Change: the key to women doctors’ advancement. Newman P, Marx C, Povey J. 2014 January 30. Available from: https://www.fmlm.ac.uk/ (log-in needed) (accessed 29 January 2022)

NHS England. Narrowing of NHS gender divide but men still the majority in senior roles. 2018. Available from; https://digital.nhs.uk/news/2018/narrowing-of-nhs-gender-divide-but-men-still-the-majority-in-senior-roles (accessed 14 March 2022)

McCord J, McDonald R, Leverson G, et al. Motivation to pursue surgical subspeciality training: is there a gender difference? J Am Coll Surg. 2007;205(5):698-703. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2007.06.014

Dacre J, Shepherd S. Women and medicine: The future. Clin Med (London). 2009;9(4):307–308. Available from: https://doi.org/10.7861/clinmedicine.9-4-307

Avini E, Omran Q, Mohamed F, Ahmed Z. Ambivalent sexism within medicine: reflections from four medical students. Br J Gen Pract. 2021;71(702):28-29. Available from: https://doi.org/10.3399/bjgp21X714497

Abosch A, Rutka J. Women in neurosurgery: inequality redux. J Neurosurg. 2018;129(2):277-281. Available from: https://doi.org/10.3171/2018.4.JNS172878

Boulis AK. Jacobs. 2010. The changing face of medicine: women doctors and the evolution of health care in America. Cornell University Press