More than 90 per cent of female doctors have experienced sexism at work - report

26 August 2021, 00:43

More than nine in 10 female doctors have experienced sexism at work, according to a report
More than nine in 10 female doctors have experienced sexism at work, according to a report. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

More than 90 per cent of female doctors have reported experiencing sexism at work, but just a quarter of those who either went through it or witnessed it have raised the issue, a survey has suggested.

The British Medical Association said the statistics are "appalling" while their report into the problem makes for "shocking" reading.

"It is appalling that we are seeing these statistics, hearing these stories and talking about these inequalities in 2021," said Dr Latifa Patel, the acting chair of the BMA's representative body.

"The report makes for shocking reading and there is no place for sexism in society.

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"If we want to eradicate it, we all have a part to play.

"It's going to take a concerted effort and it won't be quick to fix, but sexism must stop."

Their survey of more than 2,000 doctors found that 84 per cent of all respondents felt there was an issue of sexism in the medical profession, and almost three quarters believe sexism acts as a barrier to career progression.

More than a quarter of men - 28 per cent - said they had more opportunities during training because of their gender.

For women, this figure was just one per cent.

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Some 61 per cent of women said they felt discouraged to work in a particular specialty because of their gender while 70 per cent felt their clinical ability had been doubted or undervalued because of their gender.

The survey also found that 44 per cent of women and 34 per cent of men had witnessed sexism but had not reported it.

The survey and report was prompted by the experiences of a junior doctor Chelcie Jewitt, who said she had been "completely ignored" by a consultant in favour of a male colleague.

She said: "I felt humiliated and belittled by the way I was spoken to and even though I knew I was tired after a gruelling set of night shifts, I couldn't shake the feeling of upset and anger.

"Two weeks after a consultant completely ignored my contributions in favour of a male doctor while I was handing over after a busy shift, I knew I couldn't just let it lie."

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In a joint statement, Dr Vishal Sharma, the union's consultants committee chair, and Dr Sarah Hallett, junior doctors committee chair, said: "The results of this survey are deeply concerning and show how far we - as a society - have yet to go to stamp out sexism in the workplace once and for all."

The BMA said it will develop recommendations to address the issues raised in the report.