The RACS Breaking barriers; developing drivers for female surgeons survey report is now available. Thank you to all those who participated in the survey or shared it with colleagues and networks as we received a significant response, with almost 1,700 responses to the survey.

RACS is committed to understanding and addressing the circumstances that women face when considering a career in surgery in Australia and New Zealand. This is part of the RACS Diversity and Inclusion Plan and Building Respect Improving Patient Safety strategies we have initiated.

A key element of the RACS Diversity and Inclusion Plan is to increase the numbers of female surgeons. To inform this work, a survey was conducted aimed at identifying perceptions and experiences when considering a surgical career in Australia and New Zealand.

The Breaking barriers; developing drivers for female surgeons survey asked questions about demographics, perceived barriers and drivers in various medical specialties, in medical school, in lifestyle considerations, in profession considerations and about Surgical Education and Training.

In comparison to other medical specialties, surgery was perceived as having the highest barriers for women. Top barriers identified were a lack of time for dependents, hobbies and leave (travel), as well as a perception of inflexibility within the Surgical Education and Training Program.

The top driver that emerged from this survey related to delivering the surgical needs of patients. Additional key drivers highlighted were the professional ambition of respondents, the remuneration potential of a surgical career, the intellectual challenge of surgery and the interest in experiencing available and emerging technologies in surgery.

RACS, hospitals, universities and other relevant stakeholders are urged to consider the findings of this research and their implications. The findings have informed the next iteration of the RACS’ Diversity and Inclusion plan. We encourage all stakeholders to utilise the findings to further increase diversity in the surgical workforce.

Read the report (PDF 2.92MB).

Find out more about the RACS Building Respect, Improving Patient Safety initiative.