Equality, diversity and inclusion at the BMA

We are committed to promoting equal rights and opportunities, proactively tackling discrimination or disadvantage in all forms and creating an open and inclusive culture for our members, staff and stakeholders.

Location: UK
Audience: All doctors Patients and public
Updated: Monday 25 March 2024
Equality article illustration

BMA EDI (equality, diversity and inclusion) strategy is focused on ensuring that everyone is treated fairly and has equal access to opportunity.

This is reflected in our influencing work with policy-makers and key stakeholders as well as in the changes we are making within our own organisation.  

Why equality, diversity and inclusion matters to us

  • Sustainability - the medical profession is becoming increasingly diverse. Our membership should reflect the medical workforce and student body to be sustainable, to grow and to allow the voices of all groups to be heard.
  • Policy making -it strengthens our ability to stand up for you, both individually and collectively, on a wide variety of policy and employment issues.
  • External influence - it allows us to respond to and influence effectively on key issues affecting your working lives and wider public health matters.
  • High-performance organisation - organisations that are more inclusive and embrace diversity perform better and achieve more. It is essential in attracting and retaining talented and committed staff and members, who can thrive in a positive working environment.

Promoting equality, diversity and inclusion in the medical profession

As a professional body, we engage with external stakeholders to help shape and implement equality and inclusion policies in our health services.

As a union, we support doctors who experience discrimination in the workplace and promote a just and learning culture.

Some key areas of interest that relate to our work on equality, inclusion and workplace culture are:

We carry out policy work and produce support guidance for our members on key topics:



Race and ethnicity

Faith and religion

Sexual orientation

Need help? For questions about any aspect of your working life, our advisers are here to help you. Opening times: 8am - 6pm Monday to Friday (excluding UK bank holidays)

Working together for an inclusive BMA

There are several ways you can get involved and help the BMA carry out its work on promoting inclusive environments. Our groups and resources are available to you if you wish to take part in our policy work, as well as improving EDI awareness in your workplace.  

BMA equality, diversity and inclusion advisory group

Our equality, diversity and inclusion advisory group provides expert advice and guidance on all matters relating to equality, diversity and inclusion work at the BMA.

Group members offer in-depth knowledge of, and experience in, a range of EDI issues, and will help to shape the association’s work on EDI for members, staff and the medical workforce. The group is chaired by the BMA representative body chair.

The group acts as champions for EDI at the BMA and on behalf of the medical profession, promoting and embodying the BMA vision for EDI as set out in our strategy.

Membership of the group is for two BMA sessions (two-year term), starting at the beginning of the 2023-2024 session and will remain fixed for this session and the 2024-2025 session. Submissions for expressions of interest are now closed, however please do get in touch with the corporate EDI team if you would like to know more.

If you would like to share your ideas or feedback about how we can further the work of this group, please email us: [email protected]

If you'd like to share your ideas or feedback about how we can further the work of this group, please email us.

Learning modules for BMA members

These modules will help to improve your awareness and perception of equality, diversity and inclusion:

Some of these modules have been created by Skill Boosters. You can access them via your BMJ learning account. If you don't have an account you can register for one

Each module consists of short video clips featuring workplace scenarios and multiple-choice assessment quizzes, and each will take approximately 20 to 60 minutes to complete.

Measuring equality at the BMA

Collecting equality monitoring data ensures we are properly representing the diversity within the medical workforce and student body and that we are treating all our members fairly and with dignity and respect.

It makes us more responsive to the diverse needs of our members. It also helps improve the representativeness of our policy-making and negotiating structures.

How we hold your data

The information you provide to us is kept strictly confidential and handled in accordance with the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).

We use this data in aggregate form to analyse and report on statistical trends regarding our membership. It is not used in any way that allows individuals to be identified. 

Changing the culture at BMA

We have been working internally to evolve and improve BMA culture too.

What we want to change:

Behaviours and working together
  • Every member of the BMA must take responsibility for their behaviour.
  • All doctors are colleagues and should be treated with respect.
  • Respect should be shown by all genders to all genders, which is also the case for those with protected characteristics and political beliefs.
  • Staff are part of the team and as such should be treated with respect.
  • Shouting is never acceptable.
  • Consideration should be given to implementation of best practice for ensuring diversity and gender balance.
Calling out poor behaviour
  • Everyone should call out bad behaviour when they see it.
  • Chairs and committee members should watch for bad behaviour at meetings or delegate it to a relevant person.
  • If a complaint is made it should be dealt with.
  • Staff should be protected and empowered to call out bad behaviour.
  • Staff should be trained to have difficult conversations with doctors and other members of staff.
  • HR policies should be reviewed.
  • Every committee member must undergo training in diversity, equality, anti-bullying, active-bystander and collegiate working.
  • Further mandatory training for committee chairs to develop skills in managing meetings, identifying and dealing with bad behaviour and understanding the principles of fairness and equality in making committee appointments.
  • Committee members should be subject to periodic feedback from members and staff along the lines of a 360 appraisal.
  • Appointment practices should be monitored.
  • Meetings should not take place without everyone eligible to be there being invited and notified.
  • Committee members should be prevented from re-election to that committee after a suggested 12 years and restricted from the number of committees they can sit on.
  • Consideration should be given to introducing multi-member constituencies for regional seats.
  • Consideration should be given to holding meetings around tables, rather than in the council chamber and more break-out groups should be held.
The role of women in the BMA
  • A BMA women’s group should be established to provide a forum to support and mentor each other.
  • Committees should introduce quotas or minimum numbers of women in order to better reflect the percentages of men and women in each branch of practice.
  • Women should be encouraged to stand in elections and reserved seats should be introduced for those who have not previously been elected onto a committee (male or female).
  • Chairs should be encouraged to call more women to speak in committee meetings, and to emulate the example of GPC and JDC in trying to call a woman to speak first.
Complaints and resolution process
  • All listservers should be effectively monitored by assessors for speedy determination of complaints.
  • Responsibility for the administration of the external complaints process should be moved to the HR department.
  • Adequate support, counselling and protection for complainants should be provided.
  • Resolution panels should be widened to included doctors not on council or regular committees.
  • If a complaint is made about a doctor but is met by a counter-complaint it should still be investigated.
  • A booklet explaining the resolution process should be produced and be easily accessible on the website.
  • If a complainant wishes to remain anonymous enquires in the complaint should still be made as far as possible.
  • Where an anonymous complaint is made it should be pursued only where circumstances appear to merit it.

Since the independent review into sexism and sexual harassment in April 2019, we are working hard to implement the 31 recommendations put forward by Daphne Romney QC.

What’s happened so far:

BMA programme of work will continue to promote an open and inclusive culture for our members, employees and stakeholders.

Read our reports on improving culture and inclusion at the BMA:


Gender pay report for BMA/BMJ staff

Organisations with over 250 employees are now required to publish information about gender pay difference. The key figure that organisations have to publish is the median gender pay gap which shows the difference in average pay between men and women in the workforce.

Our figures

The 2023 figures for the BMA/BMJ group show that on average (median) men earn 15.2 per cent more per hour than women. This is a rise from the 13.7 per cent median gender pay gap reported last year.

As a group that includes a trade union, professional association, and global healthcare knowledge provider, the BMA/BMJ group is committed to championing equal rights and opportunities and proactively tackling discrimination or disadvantage in all forms to create an open and inclusive culture for our employees, members, customers, and stakeholders.

It is encouraging to see high levels of female representation at all levels within the group, but we recognise that over-representation of females in the lowest quartile significantly contributes to the width of the gap we report. As the Association campaigns for fair pay for our members, we are determined to practice what we lobby for, and the group is committed to fair pay for all our staff and reducing our gender pay gap.

We continue to work with our leadership teams and employees to identify practical ways to build on the initiatives that we have started over recent years. There is still more to do, but we are determined to make further progress during the following weeks and months.