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Journal of Neurosurgical Sciences 2021 Nov 11

DOI: 10.23736/S0390-5616.21.05292-9


language: English

Women in neurosurgery in the United Kingdom: past, present and future

Teresa SCOTT 1, Saba RAZA-KNIGHT 2, Anna SOLTH 3, Catherine ZHANG 4, Venetia GIANNAKAKI 5, Anna BJORNSON 6, Rossana ROMANI 7

1 Department of Neurosurgery, University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire, Coventry, Warwickshire, UK; 2 Department of Neurosurgery, Royal Preston Hospital, Fulwood, Preston, UK; 3 Department of Neurosurgery, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee, UK; 4 Department of Neurosurgery, Queen’s Hospital, Romford, UK; 5 Department of Neurosurgery, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK; 6 Department of Neurosurgery, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Broomhall, Sheffield, UK; 7 Southampton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Southampton, UK


Whilst a growing number of women in the United Kingdom (UK) are making a success of a career in medicine as a whole, a considerable gender imbalance persists in neurosurgery. The extent of this disparity and the factors that perpetuate it are difficult to assess. Furthermore, over the 70 years since the first female neurosurgeon in the UK commenced her postgraduate training, it is difficult to gauge the progress that has been made. In this article we present a snapshot of women who have played, and who are playing, a key role in UK neurosurgery, highlighting their diverse career paths. We also present the current training distribution and subspecialties of women in UK neurosurgery. We use these data to reflect upon the possible barriers to completion of neurosurgical training, obtaining a substantive consultant position, and reaching positions of academic and clinical leadership. We discuss potential interventions that may overcome these. Highlighting the role women play in UK neurosurgery’s past, present and future should inspire more female neurosurgeons to become leaders in the coming years.

KEY WORDS: Diversity; Gender equality; History; Society of British Neurological Surgeons; Women in neurosurgery

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