Action needed to achieve gender equity in medical leadership and the medical profession

12 Mar 2020

The AMA has called on Governments, medical administrators, medical schools and Colleges, and the profession as a whole to take urgent action to address barriers to gender equity in medicine, and progress record numbers of female doctors and medical students into leadership roles throughout the profession.

AMA President, Dr Tony Bartone, said International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate the contribution of women to medicine, and to call for action to achieve equity within the profession.

“More women than ever before are joining the medical profession,” Dr Bartone said.

“However, while there are more women in the medical workforce, we are a long way from achieving gender equity.”

Dr Bartone highlighted that female doctors earn, on average, 25 per cent less than their male counterparts, and that women continue to be under-represented in multiple specialities, as well as leadership positions, including medical deans, government chief medical officers and large hospital CEOs.

“None of this is because of any issues of competency, interest, or ambition. There are simply some very long-entrenched barriers to women in the medical profession, as there are in many other professions and parts of society,” Dr Bartone said.

The 2019 AMA Gender Equity Summit, which was attended by 70 stakeholder groups, identified structural and cultural changes necessary to improve gender equity.

“These included improving access to and uptake of parental leave, and portability of leave and entitlements for both men and women, particularly for GP trainees,” Dr Bartone said.

“This is why the AMA is campaigning for a single employer model for GP registrars to remove this barrier, and we welcome the Federal Government’s recent announcement of a trial in the Murrumbidgee region."

Recommendations from the AMA Gender Equity Summit include:

  • Establish targets for representation;
  • Report and publish gender equity data;
  • Provide access to leave entitlements, including for general practice registrars;
  • Address gaps in interstate portability of entitlements for doctors working in the public health system;
  • Improve access to and uptake of parental leave and flexible work arrangements for men and women;
  • Implement transparent selection criteria and processes for entry into training and employment;
  • Provide access to breastfeeding facilities and childcare at exams, conferences, and work;
  • Identify gender equity champions; and
  • Encourage capable women to apply for leadership roles.

The 2019 AMA Gender Equity Summit Report is available here.

Read the full media release here