Gender parity

Men outnumber women in many specialties in the US and U.K.

Gender disparities by specialty are greater in the U.S. medical system, where men comprise over 90 percent of the doctors in some specialties.


More women are pursuing medicine than ever before—last year, nearly half of all new U.S. medical students were women, according to AACOM and AAMC data.

But currently, males outnumber females in the majority of medical specialties. This seems to be the case outside the U.S. as well. A recent report in The BMJ found that men outnumber women in many medical specialties in the U.K., and in some specialties, there are three times as many men as women.

U.K. specialties by gender

Some of the specialties that remain the most male-dominated in the U.K. are cardiology (82 percent male), gastroenterology and hepatology (73 percent male), and respiratory medicine (63 percent male), according to data collected by the Royal College of Physicians as part of their annual census of physicians.

In all, 58 percent of U.K. consultant physicians, who are specialists with a minimum of 8 years of training, and higher-specialty trainees, who are specialists on the path to becoming consultants, are male in the U.K.

The specialties in the U.K. where there is a more even gender split include rheumatology (half women/half men), hematology (51 percent women/49 percent men) and geriatric medicine (51 percent women/49 percent men). More women than men specialize in the fields of oncology, dermatology, genitourinary medicine, clinical genetics and palliative medicine, which is 78 percent female.

U.S. stats

For comparison, in the U.S., there are more women than men in six specialties, according to 2015 data from the Association of American Medical Colleges, the most recent available. Those include pediatrics (62 percent female), ob/gyn (54 percent), pediatric hematology/oncology (52 percent), child psychiatry (52 percent), internal medicine/pediatrics (52 percent); and geriatrics (51 percent).

Male-dominated specialties in the U.S. include orthopedic surgery (95 percent male), thoracic surgery (94 percent), interventional cardiology (93 percent), urology (92 percent), and vascular and interventional radiology (91 percent).

As of October 2018, there are nearly 990,700 professionally active allopathic and osteopathic physicians in the U.S., according to a Kaiser Family Foundation report. Of those, roughly 345,300 are female and 644,300 are male. About 1,100 physicians did not specify their gender.


  1. John herzog

    In nature males and females excell in different activities. We’re animals too. All equal but better suited for certain tasks. Placing an agenda on the sexes to compete is silliness. Designed by nature to procreate in harmony is how the natural world exists and will continue.

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