Working together to end sexism in medicine

The BMA has launched a new ending sexism pledge to tackle gender discrimination in healthcare.

3 March 2023

The NHS Confederation’s Health and Care Women Leaders Network has signed up to the pledge, along with NHS Employers, NHS Providers, the Medical Women’s Federation, numerous Royal Medical Colleges and other representative organisations. The pledge represents a commitment by organisations to enact real change in the way they tackle sexism.

In 2022 BMA worked with Dr Chelcie Jewitt co-founder of the Surviving in Scrubs campaign, to look into sexism in medicine after she had gathered an array of testimony of sexist behaviour from women doctors across the NHS. The subsequent survey found that a shocking 91 per cent of women doctor respondents in the UK had experienced sexism at work with 42 per cent feeling they could not report it.

This pledge is about turning those findings into progress. Organisations are signing up to work collaboratively on ten goals, from ending sexual harassment to supporting women’s health in the workplace, which together form a roadmap toward a profession free of discrimination based on gender.

Joan Saddler OBE, NHS Confederation’s director of partnerships and equality said:

“Sexism and gender stereotypes, like all forms of discrimination, hold women back, they hold medicine back and it’s something that we have to tackle. Over 70 per cent of the health and care workforce are women. We have to ensure they are safe, their voices are heard, so they can give the best of themselves.

"The NHS Confederation is working internally to ensure that we understand our gender pay gap, that we are paying the appropriate amounts to all staff in a non-sexist way, and in a way that does not discriminate.

"We also work with our members through our Health and Care Women Leaders Network, to make sure that our organisations are creating safe environments, that they are paying equitably and fair wages. We want to see impact, that we retain our staff as well as attracting them, and that we are offering them successful rewarding careers.”

The BMA is calling for as many organisations as possible to join the current signatories in agreeing to and promoting these steps for progress.

Find out more information on the BMA website.