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How far have women come in medicine?
  1. Dame Jane Dacre1,2
  1. 1 Research Department for Medical Education RDME, University College London Medical School, London, UK
  2. 2 Research Department of Medical Education, UCL Medical School, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Dame Jane Dacre, University College London Medical School, London, UK; j.dacre{at}

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Women remain under-represented in cardiology, with reports of only up to 10%–15% women working at senior level in clinical cardiology, with little evidence of change,1 and there is now a focus on improving the gender balance. This is an important goal in a world where equality between men and women has become a marker of a progressive society. Other specialties, like geriatrics and palliative medicine, have a larger percentage of female doctors, and although each specialty has its own specific attributes this has shown that gender equality is possible in medical specialties.

A short history of women in medicine in Britain

Women have come a long way, however, since medicine became recognised as a profession. Healthcare began in the home, with women traditionally caring for the sick and the family. With the creation of the Medical Royal Colleges in the UK, medicine changed and became professionalised, and at the same time being a doctor became a role for men. The Royal College of Physicians of London was the first Medical Royal College in England. It was given its Royal Charter …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.