Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Women in UK cardiology: report of a Working Group of the British Cardiac Society
  1. A D Timmis,
  2. C Baker,
  3. S Banerjee,
  4. A L Calver,
  5. A Dornhorst,
  6. K M English,
  7. J Flint,
  8. M E Speechly-Dick,
  9. D Turner
  1. British Cardiac Society, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
    Professor Adam D Timmis
    London Chest Hospital, Department of Cardiology, Bonner Road, London E2 9JX, UK;

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


The first woman to appear on the British medical register was Elizabeth Blackwell in 1859, who had qualified earlier in New York. Later Elizabeth Garrett, disbarred like all women in the UK from attending medical school, passed examinations for the licentiate of the Society of Apothecaries and was admitted to the register in 1865. The call-up of doctors during the first world war allowed more women to enter the profession and by the mid 1940s they constituted 20% of all doctors. Thereafter there was little change for 30 years, when numbers of women entering UK medical schools started to increase to the point that they came to outnumber men during the 1990s. Despite this, women remain underrepresented in many hospital specialties, particularly cardiology, where they constitute only 16.8% of trainees and 7.4% of consultants. The failure of cardiology to attract such a large proportion of the talent pool prompted the British Cardiac Society to establish this working group, whose remit has been to identify the scale of the problem and the reasons for it to develop strategies for improving recruitment and retention of female cardiologists.


1. Application and admission to medical school

Although the total number of applications to medical school has not changed substantially in recent years, the proportion of female applicants has increased from 50.5% in 1996 to 58.8% in 2002 (table 1).1 Not only did more women than men apply for medical school in 2002 but proportionately more women were successful (60.4% v 55.3%) and there may now be positive selection bias in favour of women at the point of application. Thus, women applying to UK medical schools in 1996–7 were 1.57 times more likely to be offered a place than similarly qualified men.2

Data on dropouts from UK medical schools are scant, a study from Leeds suggesting rates of …

View Full Text