Three in four public health doctors are women

Role of female doctors during pandemic highlighted
  • Deborah Condon

Just 30% of doctors registered to practice in Ireland in 1994 were women, but by last year, this figure had risen to 44%, the Medical Council has noted.

Furthermore, women have surpassed their male colleagues in staffing numbers in areas such as public health, where 74% of doctors in Ireland are women.

The figures are being highlighted by the Medical Council to mark International Women's Day (March 8). The council, which is responsible for maintaining the register of medical practitioners in Ireland, emphasised that women have played a key role in dealing with COVID-19.

"International Women's Day offers the opportunity to recognise the contribution of female doctors in the fight against COVID-19. I want to acknowledge the contribution of women doctors nationwide at every level of the health service.

"Doctors across the country have made enormous personal sacrifices as they continue to do battle with this virus, and some 12 months later, are still working in the most difficult of circumstances in a bid to safeguard the public," commented Medical Council president, Dr Rita Doyle.

She noted that throughout the pandemic, prominent female medics, such as Dr Catherine Motherway, Dr Mary Favier and Prof Mary Horgan, have "become household names", taking to the airways to provide regular updates and advising the public about how to protect themselves.

"It is hard to believe that there was a time when women were not even able to enter the medical profession, but now many undergraduate classes have more female than male students, and women have risen to the highest ranks of the health service," Dr Doyle pointed out.

She also highlighted the "vital contribution" that public health doctors have made over the last year, the majority of whom are women.

"We have all seen the vital contribution public health doctors have made through their very visible and outstanding work over the last year. Some 74% of all public health doctors working in Ireland in 2020 were women.

"These doctors, alongside their male colleagues in public health, have worked tirelessly with all branches of the medical profession and State agencies to fight back against this virus and to keep our most vulnerable safe," Dr Doyle said.

According to registration data from the Medical Council, of the 24,720 doctors who registered with it last year, 10,970 were female. In 2010, this figure stood at 7,291.

Furthermore in 2020, in the 20-35 age group, 52.5% of all doctors were women.

Just 30% of doctors on the medical register in 1994 were women. By 2010, this had risen to 39% and in 2020, it reached 44%.


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