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Reasons and remedies for under-representation of women in medical leadership roles: a qualitative study from Australia

Bismark, Marie, Morris, Jennifer, Thomas, Laura, Loh, Erwin, Phelps, Grant and Dickinson, Helen 2015, Reasons and remedies for under-representation of women in medical leadership roles: a qualitative study from Australia, BMJ Open, vol. 5, no. 11, Article Number : e009384, pp. 1-9, doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2015-009384.

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Title Reasons and remedies for under-representation of women in medical leadership roles: a qualitative study from Australia
Author(s) Bismark, Marie
Morris, Jennifer
Thomas, Laura
Loh, Erwin
Phelps, Grant
Dickinson, Helen
Journal name BMJ Open
Volume number 5
Issue number 11
Season Article Number : e009384
Start page 1
End page 9
Total pages 9
Publisher BMJ Publishing Group
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2015-11-16
ISSN 2044-6055
Keyword(s) MEDICAL EDUCATION & TRAINING
Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Medicine, General & Internal
General & Internal Medicine
DOCTORS
Summary OBJECTIVE: To elicit medical leaders' views on reasons and remedies for the under-representation of women in medical leadership roles.

DESIGN: Qualitative study using semistructured interviews with medical practitioners who work in medical leadership roles. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and transcripts were analysed using thematic analysis.

SETTING: Public hospitals, private healthcare providers, professional colleges and associations and government organisations in Australia.

PARTICIPANTS: 30 medical practitioners who hold formal medical leadership roles.

RESULTS: Despite dramatic increases in the entry of women into medicine in Australia, there remains a gross under-representation of women in formal, high-level medical leadership positions. The male-dominated nature of medical leadership in Australia was widely recognised by interviewees. A small number of interviewees viewed gender disparities in leadership roles as a 'natural' result of women's childrearing responsibilities. However, most interviewees believed that preventable gender-related barriers were impeding women's ability to achieve and thrive in medical leadership roles. Interviewees identified a range of potential barriers across three broad domains-perceptions of capability, capacity and credibility. As a counter to these, interviewees pointed to a range of benefits of women adopting these roles, and proposed a range of interventions that would support more women entering formal medical leadership roles.

CONCLUSIONS: While women make up more than half of medical graduates in Australia today, significant barriers restrict their entry into formal medical leadership roles. These constraints have internalised, interpersonal and structural elements that can be addressed through a range of strategies for advancing the role of women in medical leadership. These findings have implications for individual medical practitioners and health services, as well as professional colleges and associations.
Language eng
DOI 10.1136/bmjopen-2015-009384
Field of Research 119999 Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 929999 Health not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2015, The Authors
Free to Read? Yes
Use Rights Creative Commons Attribution non-commercial licence
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30082278

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Medicine
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.