Number of women entering medical school rises after decade of decline
Authors: Tom Moberly
Publication date: 25 Jan 2018
The number of women choosing a career in medicine has begun to rise after a decade of decline, data from the Higher Education Funding Council for England show.
Since 1996-97, more women than men have entered medical school. The number of women entering medical school increased steadily between 1996-97 and 2003-04. It rose from 2582 in 1996-97, when women represented 53.4% of those entering medical school, to 4593 in 2003-04, when they represented 60.9% of entrants.
However, over the following decade, between 2003-04 and 2013-14, the number of women entering medical school fluctuated year to year. It reached a high of 4768 in 2004-05, when they represented 60.5% of people entering medical school, before gradually declining to 4140 in 2013-14, when they represented 54.8% of entrants.
Over the two years after 2013-14, the number of women entering medical school rose again, to 4240 in 2015-16, representing 56.4% of those entering medical school that year, the latest period for which these data are available.
Data from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service show that across the UK 59.0% of those accepted to medical school in 2017 were women, compared with 56.7% of those accepted across all subjects.
Women outnumber men on a number of other university courses, including biology, education, history, languages, and law, and as a total across all subjects. But men outnumber women among those studying architecture, business, computer science, engineering, mathematics, and physics.
Proportion of women in different subjects
Tom Moberly UK editor The BMJ