Medical academic Junior doctor Consultant

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Academics join forces to promote career opportunities for women

University staff championing gender diversity in medical schools have met to discuss how to encourage more women to opt for careers in academic medicine.

They were brought together by the BMA medical academic staff committee WAM (women in academic medicine) group, which aims to promote best practice and communication between medical schools on the issue.

WAM chair Anita Holdcroft said: ‘The [diversity champions] who came to the meeting said they had never been together before. This is because each university is seen as individual.

‘But the issues are generally the same — about maternity leave and recognition of benefits accrued from NHS work [transferring] to universities. It is so important to get together to share best practice and solve problems.’

Earlier this year, the Department of Health announced funding of around £200,000 over two years for the Athena SWAN charter, which gives bronze, silver and gold awards to recognise good employment practice in recruiting and retaining women in higher education and research.

Medical schools now need a silver Athena SWAN award to apply for National Institute for Health Research funding. It is hoped the WAM group and diversity champions will be able to work together to capitalise on the resulting increased interest shown by medical schools.

For more information about the WAM group, email