A piece we missed in The Times on 29.7.19:
A women-only course has been launched at Glasgow University to address the dearth of female NHS leaders.
The project is led by two female professors in a city where the health authority is also led by a woman.
Professor Dame Anna Dominiczak, vice-principal of Glasgow University, and Jackie Taylor, the first female president of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, have created the scholarship programme amid concerns that although up to 60 per cent of medical students are women, the top jobs are dominated by men.
Across the UK about 25 per cent of medical directors and 15 per cent of university medical professors are women. At Glasgow University about 20 per cent of professorial posts are held by women. About 36 per cent of NHS consultants are female.
Dame Anna, a leading heart and blood vessel scientist, said: “There is this deficiency of senior women at all levels, whether it is NHS consultants in hospitals or in public health and the same with clinical academics. We have a lot of female medical students, more than half, in some medical schools significantly more than half. Then in training we lose women as they move to the top of the profession and that is a long-term problem.”
She said that mothers taking responsibility for childcare was a factor, along with ingrained doubts among women that they are up to leadership roles.
“The women who push themselves forward have always done it and always will do it, but there are not enough of us,” she said. “We need to extend this invitation to those who feel they are not ready and help them.” It has been confirmed that the project does not breach gender discrimination legislation.
The course will involve meetings, coaching, mentoring, networking opportunities and learning non-clinical psychological skills. Applicants must be qualified doctors or dentists, members of the royal college in Glasgow or work for the university. In future years it is anticipated that scientists across different disciplines will be invited to apply.
Dame Anna said that she was not generally in favour of positive discrimination [J4MB emphasis: … other than where women are advantaged and men disadvantaged, obviously.] and stressed the importance of finding the right people for roles. “I do not want women to be appointed when they are not ready. I do not want women to be pushed into jobs they cannot cope with. I want women to be ready and that is what this programme is all about.”
Professor Taylor said: “There is evidence that increasing the proportion of women in leadership roles can improve financial and organisational performance, decision-making and productivity. At a time when the NHS is facing a range of challenges it’s important that we tap into the widest possible pool of talent. We are committed to nurturing and developing that talent.”
The closing date for applications is August 15. The course is expected to start in October.
Nikki Thompson, deputy chairwoman of the British Medical Association Scotland, said: “There is still a long way to go to encourage more women into senior medical roles across Scotland’s NHS. There is no doubt we need to do more to ensure women have the proper support, opportunity and encouragement.” She said women must not be unfairly treated for taking time out to have children or working part-time.
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