The WAM (women in academic medicine) group was established to consider how best to tackle the relative lack of women in academic medicine compared with medicine generally, and the apparent lack of comparable career progression.
WAM's objectives are to identify actions that would enhance the position of women in academic medicine and to advise the MASC (medical academics staff committee) on any actions that it, or the wider BMA, should be taking to support this goal.
The group came about following the recommendations of the Women in Academic Medicine report, prepared by MASC and the BMA's health policy and economic research unit.
This was followed by further reports, which WAM monitors progress on, and topics including the gender pay gap in academic medicine.
The group is currently working on:
- the analysis of its recent career progression survey
- a role models document to inspire women to consider a career in academic medicine
- responding to the academic chapter in the gender pay gap review report
- Building on work undertaken by the BMA Equality, Inclusion and Culture team for the NHS, we have prepared a model menopause policy for higher education. A copy will be sent to the university employers (UCEA) asking them to issue it to their subscribers. The BMA’s full resources on menopause can be found in our guidance called Menopause support in the workplace.
Following the publication of the 2021 BMA report on sexism in medicine, the WAM group highlights that medical academic women face sexism, racism and class discrimination in both their healthcare and university workplaces. Addressing these factors is a key priority.
The report validates issues already highlighted in our role models document. By laying out the extent of the problem, the report also represents another step towards tackling systematic sexism.
We remain committed to ensuring that under-appreciated groups of doctors are acknowledged and doctors are treated fairly and to the highest possible ethical standards.
Mary Anne Burrow
Beryl De Souza
Mary Jane Platt
Friday 3 November 2023
Friday 10 May 2024
We will also hold a webinar in connection with International Women’s day in March and have a presence at the BMA’s annual Medical Academics Conference currently due on Friday 17 May 2024.
All meetings will take place virtually except for the conference which will be a hybrid event based at:
This year, the WAM (Women in academic medicine) group held its first virtual roundtable meeting on Wednesday 24 March 2021.
Aiming at celebrating women in academic medicine, and raising awareness of the common hurdles they face, the event panel focused its attention on:
- Role models - Carmen Soto introduced the role models document and the reasons behind it: the alarming data on the exit of women from academic medicine, and a growing need for role models to tackle this. Published for International Women’s Day, the document highlights the importance of having a diverse workforce that fully represents the society in which it works
- Teachers, educators and researchers - part of the wider work on participation in research. Funding and the Research Excellence Framework are key factors facing researchers alongside the importance of doctors identifying themselves as educators, and the need for more dedicated teachers to respond to the growing number of medical students
- Career progression - part-time and home-workers are often less likely to be promoted, having a direct impact on representation from women and minorities in the workforce. Members are encouraged to call out any lack of representation in meetings.
The WAM group, together with the Medical academic staff committee, will continue working on these priorities as part of this year's agenda.
Get in touch
If you are interested in finding out more about WAM, please contact [email protected].