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Gender differences in leadership, workforce and scholarly presentation within a national society: a gastroenterology perspective


In the UK, gastroenterology has been a male predominant medical speciality. Data regarding gender within workforce, academia and leadership at a national level are lacking. Data regarding scholarly presentation at the following annual conferences were collected and analysed; British Society of Gastroenterology (BSG) 2013, 2014, and Digestive Diseases Federation (DDF) in 2015. Data from the 2013–2015 BSG annual workforce reports were examined. In 2015, female higher specialty trainees (STs) made up 39% (328/848) of the trainee workforce, versus 37% and 35% in 2014 and 2013. From 2013 to 2015, less than a fifth of all consultant gastroenterologists were women. Female consultant (18%), ST (39%), associate (86%) and student attendance (47%) at DDF 2015 did not change significantly from 2013 to 2014. Female speakers (trainees and consultants) were significantly lower at DDF 2015 compared with BSG 2014; 43/331 (13%) versus 56/212 (26.4%) (p=0.0001) and BSG 2013 63/231 (27%) (p=0.0001). The number of female chairs, delivery of the named lectures and prizes awarded to women did not differ across the 3-year period. Female leadership via representation at Council and Executive at BSG was 4/30 (13%) in 2015 and did not differ in 2013/2014, with no elected council members since 2008 and one female president in 1973.

The proportion of female gastroenterology trainees and consultants is increasing, but remains lower than across all medical specialties and is reflected in attendance and scholarly contributions. Action within the BSG is underway to address female under-representation in leadership roles.

  • health service research

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