More than 90% of female doctors have faced sexism at work, according to BMA | Doctors
Nine in ten female doctors have experienced sexism at work in the UK, including unwanted physical contact, denial of opportunities and getting massages from male colleagues in meetings.
The results emerged from a survey of doctors from the British Medical Association, which said the results were appalling and the incidents were prompted by a shocking read.
The doctors ‘union has solicited members’ opinions and experiences in response to the Everyday Sexism in the NHS campaign, which is led by Dr Chelcie Jewitt, a trainee hospital doctor. It drew 2,458 responses, of which 82% came from female physicians and 16% from male physicians.
The survey shows that 91% of female doctors have been victims of sexism at work. He found that while only 4% of men felt their clinical abilities had been questioned or undervalued because of their gender, 70% of women who responded said that was the case.
Almost a third (31%) of female physicians have experienced unwanted physical behavior in the workplace, while over 23% of male physicians have. Likewise, 56% of women had received unwanted verbal comments related to their gender, but only 28% of men had.
Two in five doctors (42%), women and men, who had witnessed or experienced sexism, felt they could not report it.
A young female doctor told the BMA: “I was asked to massage the shoulders of consultants during the work of a multidisciplinary surgical team. “
Another, who is a general practitioner, said: “I was asked in an interview if I was planning to have children. I have had patients who refused to see me because they wanted to see a good doctor, ie a man,… I said that I was not pretty enough to distract the meetings so that ‘they can treat me like a guy.
A male medical specialist recounted how, although he often works with female consultants, “there is a tendency for other specialties to talk and rely on me rather than my fellow consultants, despite knowing the rank of everyone in the conversation ”.
Jewitt began her campaign in 2019 when during a handover, a male consultant “completely ignored my contributions to a male doctor,” even though she had provided most of the patient care. When her male colleague explained to her that she had done it, the consultant asked him to pass on his thanks to Jewitt “because I don’t want her to get upset.”
Official figures show that female NHS doctors earn less than their male counterparts.
Danny Mortimer, deputy chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents hospital trusts, said the NHS needs to do more to tackle sexism.
“NHS organizations are working hard to ensure their staff do not suffer from sexism, or indeed any form of discrimination, and the recent appointment of Amanda Pritchard [as NHS England’s new chief executive] indicates more representative leadership. But as this report makes clear, there is still a lot of work to be done. “