25th October 2019, Volume 132 Number 1504

Angela D McGregor

In 2015 the surgical profession attracted a frenzy of media attention when a female vascular surgeon commented in an interview that female surgical trainees should “accept unwanted sexual advances because…

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Gender imbalance exists in the surgical profession, meaning there are more barriers for women to overcome when pursuing a career in surgery compared to men. The gender imbalance is rooted in our stereotypical expectations of men and women and is perpetuated by extensions of these expecta-tions. It is important for the surgical profession to address this gender imbalance so that the character-istics, values and experiences women bring to surgery can be combined with those of men. That way we can appreciate our differences, learn from and build on each other’s strengths, and work together for improved patient care.


There is ongoing discussion in the literature about the impact of gender in the surgical profession. This article explains the social expectations of men and women and how these create and perpetuate the gender imbalance. Correcting this imbalance is discussed in the context of supporting a positive, inclusive culture change within surgery.

Author Information

Angela D McGregor, Doctor, Taranaki District Health Board, New Plymouth.


Dr Angela McGregor, Taranaki District Health Board, David Street, Westown 4310, New Plymouth.

Correspondence Email


Competing Interests



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