This story was first published on the 30th October 2016 for Pomegranate, a podcast of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. Subscribe to the series on iTunes Store or Android.

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While more than half of all medical students and trainees are women, they make up only about 30 per cent of registered physicians. When it comes to clinical leadership positions it’s down to single digits, and medicine’s gender pay gap is worse than that of other industries.

The reasons for this loss of talent, and disparities in pay, are both cultural and logistical. One significant factor affecting career progression is time taken out for child-rearing; the penalties associated with such an interruption appear to compound more in medical training than they do in other professions. But medical culture, reflecting the wider society, also contains structural biases that affect women. On this episode, we discuss the challenges for gender equity in the profession, and how role-modelling and leadership training may offer strategies to support the next generation of women doctors.

Guests: Dr Catherine Yelland FRACP (President, RACP), Dr Stefanie Schurer (University of Sydney), Dr Elizabeth Sigston FRACS (Consultant Surgeon, ORLHNS, Monash Health), Prof Helena Teede FRACP (Executive Director, Monash Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre; Director, Monash Centre for Health Research and Implementation).

This episode was produced by Mic Cavazzini, with additional research from Beverly Bucalon and Dr Marion Leighton FRACP.

Music from Blue Dot Sessions (“Fervent”, “Downhill Racer”); photo courtesy Sergio Santos. Pomegranate’s executive producer is Anne Fredrickson.