Hospital Dr News

NHS gender divide is narrowing but men still dominate senior roles

Women make up over three quarters of all NHS staff, however they are still in the minority in senior roles, figures reveal.

The proportion of doctors who are women has grown every year since 2009 an analysis of NHS workforce statistics shows.

Thirty six per cent of consultants are now women compared with 30% in 2009.

Furthermore, 37% of all senior roles are now held by women compared with 31% in 2009, according to the NHS Digital analysis.

At the other end of the pay scale, 74% of band 1 staff are women, while bands 2 to 7 all have ratios of at least four women to every one man.

Between November 2009 and November 2017, the number of female hospital and community health service doctors increased by nearly 11,000. Over the same period, the number of male doctors rose by just over 4,000.

It means 45% of doctors are now women, compared with 41% cent in 2009. The whole NHS workforce has remained 77% female throughout this period.

There are now more women doctors specialising in psychiatry (51%) than men (49%), and clinical oncology (now 53%).

Surgery continues to be predominantly male, despite a narrowing of the gap. Twenty seven per cent of surgeons are women compared with 24% in 2009.

Eighty nine per cent of nurses and health visitors are women, making this staffing group marginally more female dominated than it was in 2009 (88%).

Forty four per cent of all chief executives across NHS trusts, CCGs, supporting organisations and central bodies are women. In 2009, this was 38%.

Commenting on the figures, Dr Anthea Mowat, BMA representative body chair, said: “There has been a lot of progress for female doctors over the last decade – women now make up almost 50% of the medical profession and the majority of students and trainees are female.

“However, this progress is slow and there is something of a bottleneck emerging, as women are still in the minority in more senior roles and almost two thirds of consultants are men. Women can face all kinds of barriers during their careers – they are more likely to take time off to have children and then work part time because of childcare or caring for relatives, which affects career progression, as well as experiencing discrimination and undermining behaviour at work. These issues also have an impact on the gender pay gap in medicine, which is heavily linked to part time working, and an unequal share of childcare responsibilities.

“The BMA hopes that the new review of the gender pay gap will scrutinise these ongoing barriers and lead to policy changes that will benefit women doctors at all stages of their careers.”

The statistics also show that there are 97,000 women from overseas employed in the health service, up from 68,000 in 2009. 47,000 of those 97,000 come from the EU or EEA, with the remaining 51,000 from the rest of the world.

Read more here.

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