Sexism in medicine report

Our report, based on a survey of nearly 2.5 thousand doctors, highlights an issue of sexism in the medical profession.

Location: UK
Audience: All doctors
Updated: Monday 22 August 2022
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A survey of 2,458 doctors by the BMA in 2021 shows that 91% of women doctors in the UK have experienced sexism at work with 42% feeling they could not report it. Respondents of all genders said they felt there was an issue of sexism in the medical profession.

Women who took part in the survey told us that they suffer patronising comments, are being judged on their appearance, can be overlooked in their career progression or are ignored by patients and other doctors in favour of their male colleagues.

The survey found that:

Career progression

  • 28% of men respondents said that they have/had more opportunities during training because of their gender, compared to 1% of women respondents
  • 61% of women respondents felt they were discouraged to work in a particular specialty because of their gender with 39% going on to decide not to work in that speciality
  • 70% of women respondents felt that their clinical ability had been doubted or undervalued because of their gender, compared to 4% of men respondents
  • 54% of all respondents thought that sexism acts as a barrier to career progression

Sexual harassment

  • 31% of women and 23% of men respondents experienced unwanted physical conduct in their workplace
  • 56% of women and 28% of men respondents received unwanted verbal conduct related to their gender

Reporting sexist behaviours and sexual harassment

  • 42% of all respondents who witnessed or experienced an issue relating to sexism felt they couldn’t report it

This short, animated video presents the key findings with some quotes from doctors who responded to the survey about their experiences.


Video cover of Dr Chelsie Jewitt who speaks about the sexism survey August 2021

The Mend the Gap: Independent Review into Gender Pay Gaps in Medicine in England showed similar findings on the culture and behaviours that drive sexism in medicine. Our commentary explains how the BMA is taking forward the recommendations in the review.


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