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Women in medicine

What we are doing

Women in medicine is a new project showcasing leading clinicians and the women from the history of medicine who have inspired them.

The project, coordinated by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), brings together the leading medical bodies in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland to profile 52 of the most influential clinicians from the past and present.

The timing of Women in medicine is significant as 2017 is the centenary of the Medical Women’s Federation, and also the first time in history that the majority of the world-renowned medical royal colleges have been led by women.


From 3 October 2017 to 19 January 2018, the RCP is hosting an exhibition of specially commissioned photographic portraits honouring these contemporary and historical medical figures.

Among the historical women featured are internationally acclaimed individuals such as Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, Britain’s first formally qualified and recognised female doctor; Dame Sheila Sherlock, the prime mover in the establishment of liver disease as a specialty; and Dame Cicely Saunders, the founder of the modern hospice movement.

What we have produced

England's chief medical officer Professor Dame Sally Davies and Margaret Turner-Warwick, the first woman to be elected president of the RCP.
Profiles of Dr Anna Batchelor, who was the first woman dean of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine, and Dr Gillian Hanson - a true innovator in the field.
Profiles of Dr Ruth Brown, former VP of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, and Dr Mary Sheila Christian - a founder of A&E medicine in the UK.
Profiles of Dame Fiona Caldicott, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and Dr Helen Boyle, one of the first women active in psychiatry.
Profiles of Professor Jane Dacre, president of the Royal College of Physicians, and Dame Sheila Sherlock, the first ever female professor of medicine.
Profiles of Professor Dame Anna Dominiczak, Regius professor of medicine at the University of Glasgow, and Dr Marion Gilchrist, its first female graduate.
Profiles of Dr Judy Evans, a leading clinician in plastic surgery, and Gertrude Herzfeld - a 'true trailblazer for women in surgery'.
Profiles Dr Flic Gabbay, whose many roles have included co-founder of the Society for Pharmaceutical Medicine, and Dame Cicely Saunders, who founded the modern hospice movement.
Profiles of Dr Fiona Godlee, editor-in-chief of The BMJ, and Sophia Jex-Blake - a leading campaigner for women in medical and higher education.
Profiles of Professor Jenny Higham, the first woman principal of St George’s, University of London, and Marie Stopes, scientist, academic and influential campaigner for women’s rights and birth control.
Profiles of Professor Mary Horgan is the first female president of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, and Dr Dorothy Stopford Price, a revolutionary physician who fought for Ireland to be free from tuberculosis.
Profiles of Dr Asha Kasliwal, president of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare, and Dr Anandibai Joshi - the first Indian woman to obtain a medical degree through training in Western medicine.
Profiles of Professor Dame Parveen Kumar, one of her generation's pre-eminent physicians, and Dr Jane Walker, first president of the Medical Women’s Federation.
Profiles of Dr Suzy Lishman, the second woman to be elected president of the Royal College of Pathologists, and Professor Dorothy Russell, the first woman in Europe to hold a senior university position in pathology.
Profiles of Professor Carrie MacEwen, chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, and Professor Dame Ida Mann, a pioneering ophthalmologist.
Profiles of Professor Eilis McGovern, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland's first woman president, and Dr Emily Winifred Dickson, its first female fellow.
Profiles of Professor Sheona MacLeod, chair of the UK’s Conference of Postgraduate Medical Deans, and Dr Vicky Osgood, an accomplished clinician who was devoted to promoting excellence in medical education.
Profiles of Miss Clare Marx, the first woman to be president of the Royal College of Surgeons, and Dr Eleanor Davies-Colley, the first woman it made a fellow.
Profiles of Professor Neena Modi, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, and Professor June Lloyd, Baroness Lloyd of Highbury, founder of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.
Profiles of Professor Ramani Moonesinghe, whose roles include director of the Health Services Research Centre at the Royal College of Anaesthetists, and Dr Katharine Lloyd-Williams, who oversaw the creation of the UK’s first fully co-educational medical school at the Royal Free Hospital.
Profiles of Professor Lesley Regan, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and Dame Hilda Lloyd who in 1949 became the first female president of any medical royal college in the UK.
Profiles of Professor Wendy Reid, Health Education England’s first national medical director, and Dame Louisa Aldrich-Blake, the first British woman to qualify as a master of surgery.
Profiles of Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, the Royal College of General Practitioners' chair of council, and Dr Mollie McBride, a career GP of great integrity.
Profiles of Professor Angela Thomas, vice chair of the Commission on Human Medicines, and Dr Isabella Pringle – 'a clinician with a social conscience'.
Profiles of Professor Joanna Wardlaw, an international expert in brain blood vessel diseases and brain imaging, and Marie Curie, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize.
Profiles of Professor Dame Margaret Whitehead, a renowned authority on health inequality, and Dame Rosemary Rue, a champion of women in the medical professions.
Profiles of Professor Dame Carol Black, principal of Newnham College, Cambridge and expert adviser on health, and Dr Barbara Ansell, afounding figure of paediatric rheumatology.