When I was president of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), one of my personal aims was to increase the diversity of the organisation. As only the third woman president in 500 years, it seemed an obvious area to focus on. The RCP Council approved a report led by Prof Dame Parveen Kumar, exploring the diversity in the college and making recommendations on how to improve it. We were able to change the status quo relatively easily by raising awareness of the imbalance, and encouraging colleagues from more diverse background to stand for election, and apply for college roles. I am proud of the organisation for the progress made during my term of office, and of the women and black, Asian and minority ethnic physicians in leadership roles. The college officers and RCP Council now reflect the membership much more accurately, but there is still work to be done. This year’s conference, Medicine 2019 was a wonderful celebration of a wide range physicians from across the world working together and remembering that #medicineisbrilliant. This paper highlights that there is still work to be done to promote gender equality in the medical profession, and to encourage all physicians to take part in conferences as speakers, and as panellists. Healthcare delivery is struggling all over the world, and so now, more than ever, we must benefit from the qualities that we all bring, whatever our background, and whatever our gender. Diversity in the clinical workplace, and at conferences, enhances care, improves the educational experience and needs to be encouraged. Please take note of the advice provided in this article, and help us redress the balance.
Prof Dame Jane Dacre
(Prof Dame Jane Dacre is leading the government’s independent review of the gender pay gap in medicine.)