Strategies for increasing recruitment of female medical graduates to surgical specialties: a role for medical schools

By Victoria Cook

Victoria attended the 2016 UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York.


Since 2001, the majority of students graduating from Australian medical schools have been female. Yet in 2015, only 9.2% of surgeons were female, a figure that declines further in sub-specialties such as orthopaedics[1]. Female students accurately perceive significant gender-based barriers to building a successful career in surgery. These negative perceptions are compounded and exaggerated by experiences of medical education. Increasing the numbers of women in surgery requires a comprehensive approach across all stages of medical education, as well as surgical training and practice. This paper will focus on the role that universities can play in encouraging a more gender-neutral pattern of specialisation in medical graduates, in particular by increasing the number of female graduates choosing surgery.

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