The Medical Women Podcast



MWF Podcast Cover 10


The Medical Women Podcast 

On the 1st of February 1917, the Medical Women’s Federation was founded with 190 members. The aim of the organisation was to support medical women in their careers and to advocate and campaign for equal pay, better nutrition, supporting young people who are assaulted and more research on menopause. 

105 years later, we continue in their footsteps and are still campaigning for gender equity in medicine. 

With the aim of celebrating, supporting and empowering medical women in their careers, we have launched a podcast on our 105th birthday. 

There will be episodes released every Tuesday where we have discussions with Past Presidents, Honorary members, careers coaches and authors on a range of subjects relevant to our members who range from medical students to retired doctors. 

We hope you enjoy listening and do get in touch with any feedback. 

The podcast is available on all major podcast platforms and via this link ( 

Please do share, rate and review to help us reach as many medical women as we can. 


Special Episode: Advice from medical students for the start of a new academic year 20/09/22

We're back with another special episode!

It's September and that means we're welcoming new medical students to University and the wards! In this special episode, we hear from four medical women who have been involved with the Medical Women's Federation since they were medical students. They share their advice for those starting medical school and those commencing their clinical years. 


Special Episode 

Tomorrow, the first Wednesday in August, will be the first day of being a doctor for all foundation year one doctors in the UK. It will also be the first day that many doctors start specialty training or become a more senior specialty trainee.

Understandably, lots of doctors in this situation will be feeling a mixture of excitement and pure terror!

We thought it would be helpful to hear from our junior doctors of MWF to get their advice on the transition from student to doctor and at different stages of medical training. We also asked our social media followers who helpfully share lots of their top tips with us!

Our junior doctor members also share what they have gained from being a member of MWF and why they would encourage others to join.

GOOD LUCK to all of you starting new jobs, especially our new FY1 colleagues. You've got this!!

Season 1 

Episode 1 - Celebrating 105 years of MWF with Ms Sophie Almond, 1/2/22 

In this episode, we speak to Ms Sophie Almond who has just completed her PhD on the history of the MWF from 1879-1948. We discuss issues women doctors faced in society and in joining the profession, and different issues medical women have faced over the last 105 years. Sophie also shares her advice for anyone contemplating doing research or a PhD. We hope you enjoy the episode!

Sophie’s book recommendation: ‘A curious history of sex’ by Kate Lister

Follow Sophie on twitter: @sophiealmond1

Link to Sophie’s paper on the role of women doctors in the First and Second World Wars:

A reflective worksheet to use for self-certified professional development, Click here to access it 

Episode 2 – The importance of advocacy with Professor Neena Modi, 08/02/22

This week's episode is with our immediate Past President, Professor Neena Modi. Neena is Professor of Neonatology at Imperial College Hospital. She is a Past President of several organisations including the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, the Academic Paediatric Association of Great Britain and the Neonatal Society. She is currently the President of the British Medical Association. Neena has a breadth of experience in both academic and clinical neonatal medicine.

In this episode, we discuss Neena's first experience of advocacy, how we need to work together to stop describing things as 'women's issues' when they are societal issues, and why we need to go for it when we are considering applying for opportunities. We always feel so inspired when we speak to Neena and we hope you do too after listening to this episode! 

Neena's book recommendations:

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The Towers of Trebizond by Rose Macaulay

Follow Neena on Twitter: @NeenaModi1

A reflective worksheet to use for self-certified professional development, Click here to access it 

Episode 3 – Coaching women leaders with Sandra Pinnington 

This week, we are joined by Sandra Pinnington, women’s leadership coach and founder of the Women Leaders Association or WLA.

We all have doubts about our abilities and our careers. The trouble is, we rarely share those doubts, so we don’t realise we are in good company and can work together to challenge our self-doubts. The aim of this episode is to reassure you that you are not the only one who has your doubts, and ways we can try and overcome challenges women leaders face.

Sandra shares the seven common challenges that she comes across through coaching women leaders.

We hope you find the episode reassuring and helpful!

Sandra’s book recommendations: 

Leadership Plain and Simple by Steve Radcliffe 

The surrender experiment: my journey into life’s perfection by Michael Singer

The five dysfunctions of a team by Patrick Lencioni

To find out more about Sandra and the WLA:







IWD event: 

A reflective worksheet to use for self-certified professional development, Click here to access it

Episode 4: Stepping into leadership with Professor Chloe Orkin, 22/2/22 

This week our guest is our current President, Professor Chloe Orkin. Chloe is a Professor of HIV medicine; working both clinically and academically, running Phase III clinical trials. She is also Athena Swan and EDI lead at her Faculty.

Chloe shares her advice for those getting started on their leadership journeys and shares some really helpful tips on how to chair a meeting. We also discuss the glass cliff and glass slipper that many senior women leaders are subject to.

It’s LGBTQ+ history month and Chloe is our first President from the LGBTQ+ community; what a wonderful way to celebrate the diversity of medical women and that this is an organisation for all medical women.

Chloe’s book recommendation:

Authentic Happiness by Martin Seligman 

A reflective worksheet to use for self-certified professional development, Click here to access it

Episode 5: Mending the gender pay gap in medicine with Professor Dame Jane Dacre

When the Medical Women’s Federation was founded in 1917, the gender pay gap was one of the main areas of their focus. 105 years later, sadly we still have a gender pay gap in medicine. If we understand what contributes to the gender pay gap, we can work to address the issue and make changes so that in another 100 years, the gender pay gap is a historical issue.

To discuss this topic is Professor Dame Jane Dacre who chairs the Independent Review into the Gender Pay Gap in Medicine. 

You can read the Mend the Gap report here.

Jane’s book recommendation:

Becoming by Michelle Obama

Follow Jane on Twitter: @DacreJane

A reflective worksheet to use for self-certified professional development, Click here to access it

Episode 6: Celebrating our 80 MWF Presidents for International Women’s Day! 8/3/22 

** Special episode klaxon! **

Happy International Women’s Day 2022! You are in for an extra special treat this week – why speak to one inspiring medical woman when you can speak to 21 MWF Presidents!

We will be hearing from our Presidents from 1992-2022 who share with us their favourite memories of MWF, why it is an important organisation to them, their advice and lessons they have learnt, achievements they are proud of, and why MWF remains an important organisation in 2022.

Nuthana also wanted to pay tribute to MWF founders and Past Presidents who are no longer with us, and she shares their stories from documents in the MWF Archives.

This is an episode to download and save for those tough days when listening to some inspiring medical women will help lift your spirits.

Thank you to Ms Jenna MacKenzie for her incredible hard work in editing this episode, Ms Katie Aldridge for liaising with all MWF Presidents, Miss Kethaki Bhayankaram for composing additional music for this episode, Dr Nuthana Bhayankaram for her narration and to all of the Presidents who took the time to record themselves or let Nuthana interview them.

We hope you enjoy this episode and please share it with all your medical women friends and colleagues.

Episode 7 - Managing our money with Dr Nikki Ramskill, 14/03/22 

On this week’s podcast, we are discussing a topic that doesn’t usually get discussed – money.

An important aspect of being empowered in our careers is being confident in managing our money. But few of us have been taught about our finance at school or medical school. This week, we speak to Dr Nikki Ramskill, GP and women’s money coach, to discuss how we can get started managing our money. Nikki shares practical advice for budgeting as a student and junior doctor, the importance of understanding our NHS pensions, and planning for your financial future. 

Nikki’s book recommendation:

Atomic Habits by James Clear

Follow Nikki on social media:


Twitter: @FemaleMoneyDoc

Episode 8: Being a mother to ourselves with Zoe Blaskey – 22/3/22

It’s Mothering Sunday in the UK this coming Sunday, and whilst many of our members may be mothers, we wanted to explore motherhood in a way that would be applicable to all listeners regardless of their parenthood status. There are many parallels between being a parent and being a healthcare worker.

Our guest this week is Zoe Blaskey, who is a coach and has a very successful podcast called Motherkind. Zoe discusses the importance of boundaries, looking after ourselves so we can look after others and the importance of having compassion for ourselves.

Zoe’s book recommendations: 

How to do the work by Dr Nicole Le Pera

The high 5 habit by Mel Robbins

Episode 9: Hammering out bullying and harassment with Mr Simon Fleming - 29/03/22 

We’ve got one of our male honorary members on the show this week! Mr Simon Fleming is an orthopaedic registrar who is passionate about combating bullying, undermining and harassment in healthcare. More recently, he has been speaking up about sexual harassment and assault in surgery.

Simon shares with us why it’s important for all of us to speak up and tackle bullying and harassment so that together we can change culture from ‘this is how it is’ to ‘this is not ok’.

Follow Simon on social media:

Twitter: @OrthopodReg

Episode 10: Intersectionality in medicine with Dr Olamide Dada 5/4/22

Welcome to Episode 10!! This week, we speak to the wonderful Dr Olamide Dada who is an FY1 and CEO and Founder of Melanin Medics, a non-profit organisation that supports African and Caribbean medics.

Olamide shares her leadership journey, why she thinks it is important to discuss intersectionality in medicine, and how we can all be allies to one another.

Olamide’s book recommendations:

Boundaries by Dr Cloud and Dr Townsend

Start Now Get Perfect Later by Rob Moore

Olamide’s twitter: @olamide_dada

Melanin medics: @MelaninMedics Website:  

 Episode 11: Overcoming imposter syndrome with Susie Edwards 12/04/22

This week we’re tackling everyone’s favourite subject – imposter syndrome! Ok it’s not really anyone’s favourite topic but it tends to be the big elephant in the room that doesn’t always get addressed. It’s time to own our imposter syndrome and address it!

Our guest this week is the fantastic Susie Edwards who is a careers coach with a lot of experience working with medics at all stages of their career. Susie is used to clients speaking about imposter syndrome. We discuss what imposter syndrome is and how to go about addressing it.

Susie gives Nuthana some impromptu coaching, and you can use these questions to coach yourself.

Susie’s book recommendations:

The disease to please by Harriet Braiker

Designing your work life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

What would Freido do? by Arianna Davis

Follow Susie on her website:

Episode 12: Women’s leadership on a global level with Professor Rosie Campbell 19/4/22

We’ve explored leadership in several previous episodes but we’ve focused on individual leadership journeys so this week we examine women’s leadership on a global level. Our guest this week is Professor Rosie Campbell, Director of the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at King’s College London.

Rosie discusses the studies that the Institute are doing to examine women’s leadership and how we might cross-collaborate to help improve gender equality.

Rosie’s book recommendations:

What works: gender equality by design by Iris Bonnet

Women & leadership: conversations with some of the world’s most powerful women by Julia Gillard and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Find out more about the GIWL here

A reflective worksheet to use for self-certified professional development, Click here to access it

Episode 13: How to speak with confidence with Caroline Goyder  26/04/22

Have you ever felt nervous about making a phone call or giving a presentation or speaking up in a meeting? This week’s guest is voice coach and author Caroline Goyder. Caroline shares with us exercises we can do to help strengthen our voices, her top tips for feeling confident when giving a presentation, and how we all have gravitas.

The aim of this podcast is to empower and support as many medical women in their careers as possible, and having the confidence to use our voices and speak up is a really important part of being empowered.

We hope you really enjoy this episode!

Caroline’s book recommendations:

Quiet by Susan Cain

Man’s search for meaning Viktor Frankl

Caroline’s books:

Find your voice


The star qualities

To follow Caroline:


A reflective worksheet to use for self-certified professional development, Click here to access it

Episode 14: How women rise with Sally Helgesen     3/5/22

Whilst there are lots of system issues holding women back in their careers, do you ever wonder if there is anything in your control to influence how you can rise in your career? Or how you can help other women rise?

This week’s guest is Sally Helgesen, co-author of the bestselling book ‘How women rise; break the 12 habits holding you back’. Sally shares some of the most common habits that research shows hold women back. Don’t panic if you recognise that you do any of these! This episode will help you to understand how you can change your behaviour to help rise in your career and lift others as you climb.

To find out more about Sally:


Twitter: @SallyHelgesen

Sally’s book recommendations:

My life in leadership by Frances Hesselbein

The heart of business by Hubert Joly 

A reflective worksheet to use for self-certified professional development, Click here to access it

Episode 15: Permission to thrive with Dr Caroline Walker and Dr Rachel Morris   10/05/22

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week this week and we’re speaking about the importance of doctors giving themselves permission to thrive and look after themselves.

We have two guests this week! Dr Caroline Walker is a psychiatrist, therapist and coach and host of podcast The Joyful Doctor. Dr Rachel Morris is a GP turned coach and you might recognise her voice from her wonderful podcast You Are Not a Frog. Rachel and Caroline share their top tips for making sure we look after ourselves as well as everyone around us!

Rachel and Caroline’s book recommendations:

Atomic habits by James Clear

Station 11 by Emily St John Mandel

4,000 weeks by Oliver Burkeman

Stolen focus by Johann Hari

The choice by Edith Edger

The gift by Edith Edger

All the light we cannot see by Anthony Doerr

To find out more about Caroline:

To find out more about Rachel:  

Episode 16: The importance of public engagement with Professor Alice Roberts 17/05/22

Has the pandemic made you consider the importance of public engagement in science? Well, this week’s guest is just the person to speak to us about this. Professor Alice Roberts is an anatomist and anthropologist, well-known for her documentaries and books on health and our ancestors, and she is Professor of Public Engagement in Science.

Alice shares her experience of public engagement in science and ways we can apply this to our everyday work in medicine.

Alice’s book recommendations:

What is Life by Paul Nurse

The Complete Guide to Absolutely Everything *Abridged by Adam Rutherford and Hannah Fry 

The Maths of Life and Death by Kit Yates

To find out more about Alice:

Episode 17: Succeeding in two medical careers with Dame Clare Gerada and Professor Sir Simon Wessley  24/05/22

This week’s episode is packed full of wisdom as we are joined by the wonderful Dame Clare Gerada and Professor Sir Simon Wessley. Clare is a GP and the current President of the Royal College of General Practitioners. She’s also a past Honorary Secretary of the Medical Women’s Federation. Simon is a psychiatrist and Past President of the Royal Society of Medicine and the Royal College of Psychiatrists. He was the first man to become an honorary member of the Medical Women’s Federation for being a great ally. Between them they have held a lot of leadership roles we can learn from. Oh and they happen to be married to each other!

Books mentioned on the podcast:

Beneath the white coat: doctors, their minds and mental health edited by Clare Gerada

A New International History of the Spanish Civil War by Michael Alpert

Survivors: True Stories of Children in the Holocaust by Allan Zullo

Episode 18: Why we need to think about sex and gender differences in medicine with Dr Jeannette Wolfe   31/05/22

Most of us are taught in medical school that male and female bodies are the same except the reproductive systems. Most medical research and practice is male-centric, but we are now starting to learn that there are more differences than just the reproductive systems.

Dr Jeannette Wolfe is a Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Chan School of Medicine-Baystate. She is also host of the ‘SeX and whY’ podcast which explores how biological sex and gender influence our brain, body and behaviour.

In this episode, she shares what she has learnt through her podcast and research.  

Jeannette’s book recommendation:

Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well

by Douglas Stone, Sheila Heen 

Episode 19: Celebrating the history of women in medicine with Briony Hudson 7/6/22

During this week, the 9th of June marks Dr Elizabeth Garrett Anderson’s 186th Birthday. Dr Garrett Anderson became the first woman in the UK to gain a license to practice medicine in in 1865.

Our guest this week is Briony Hudson who is a museum curator and pharmacy and medical historian. Briony shares stories of medical women throughout history, how it can be difficult to uncover their stories as women are not always correctly acknowledged, and why it is important we examine their stories.

Briony’s book recommendation: Square Haunting: Five Women, Freedom and London Between the Wars by Francesca Wade 

Links to exhibitions mentioned in the episode

Women at the heart of general practice (

This vexed question: 500 years of women in medicine | RCP Museum (

Link to article on Elizabeth Garrett Anderson: What would Elizabeth Garrett Anderson do?

Episode 20: Founding a medical women’s organisation with Dr Sarah Fitzgibbon’ 14/6/22 

The Medical Women’s Federation was founded in February 1917, so sadly we can’t speak to the founders on our podcast about their experience. 100 years later, inspired by the centenary of the Medical Women’s Federation, Dr Sarah Fitzgibbon set up WIMIN – women in medicine in Ireland network.

Sarah joins us on the podcast to share how she set up the organisation. She also speaks about other things going on in her life at that time, in a very brave and vulnerable way. We are so grateful to Sarah for sharing this with us.

Sarah’s book recommendation: Letter to a Young Female Physician: Notes from a Medical Life by Suzanne Koven 

Episode 21: Balancing parenthood and leadership with Verena Hefti MBE  21/06/22

Do you wonder how you’ll balance your career ambitions with having a family? Whether you’re already a parent or hoping to be a parent in the future, it’s likely that you’ve thought about how to juggle work with other aspects of your life. Research examining women in leadership shows that because the time at which we start progressing to leadership roles coincides with the biological time window for having children if we want to have children, this can be one of the barrier’s to women’s progression to senior leadership roles. If we want to live in a society that supports men and women to be parents and to be leaders, then we need to change culture and support parents. This week’s guest is Verena Hefti, CEO and founder of Leaders Plus, a social enterprise working with individuals during maternity leave, shared parental leave, and beyond to progress in their careers whilst enjoying their young families. Verena also hosts the podcast Big Careers, Small children and she was recently awarded an MBE for her work in supporting parents. Verena discusses what she has learnt about balancing parenthood and leadership through LeadersPlus and Big Careers Small Children.

Verena’s book recommendations:

The Authority Gap: Why Women are Still Taken Less Seriously Than Men, and what We Can Do about it by Mary Ann Sieghart

Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman

Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Kristin Neff

To find out more about LeadersPlus:


Episode 22: Doing what works for you with Dr Lucy Henshall   28/06/22

This warm weather has made me think of the Mary Oliver poem the Summer Day, which ends with the question, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” So often when we are going through medical school or the training treadmill, or whatever stage of our career we are in, it’s so easy to stay focused on how busy things are and everything that we need to do, that we can forget to step back and think about what we want to do with our one wild and precious life. and meanwhile, the time in that one wild and precious life is ticking away. This week our guest is Dr Lucy Henshall, GP, member of the RCGP Council and a founder of welcome back to work, an organisation supporting doctors returning to work. Lucy spoke at the MWF autumn conference 2021 and she spoke to us about doing ‘what works for you’. Most of the time we don’t stop to think about making small changes to make our work better for us. It was a very popular talk, so I invited Lucy to come and share her wisdom with you, our lovely podcast listeners. I hope you enjoy the episode, and I encourage you to spend some time thinking about what you would like to do with your one wild and precious life.

Lucy’s book recommendations:

Ikigai : Discover your reason for being by Justyn Barnes 

Dare to Lead : Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts by Brené Brown 

The Body Keeps the Score : Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing by Bessel van der Kolk 

The Wild Remedy: How Nature Mends Us - A Diary by Emma Mitchell 

The Shepherds Life by James Rebanks 

The Poetry Pharmacy : Tried - and - True Prescriptions for the Heart, Mind and Soul by William Sieghart 

Follow Lucy on social media:

Twitter: @DrLucyHenshall

Episode 23: Transforming our inner critic into an inner cheerleader with Harriet Waley-Cohen  5/07/22

Have you ever wished you could do something about the negative voices in your head? Perhaps you have the courage to apply for something, and then your inner critic tells you that you are not good enough. Or you want to get on with some important work but your perfectionist stops you from submitting it until it’s perfect. If this sounds familiar, you are in good company. We all have a whole host of voices in our heads that try to protect us but can often get in our way. Most of the time we keep these voices to ourselves, but what I want us to be able to do on this podcast is to discuss the things that we usually don’t discuss. We spend our whole lives with one person – ourselves, and the way we speak to ourselves really matters. Most of the time, we speak to ourselves in a way we wouldn’t imagine speaking to our family, friends and colleagues.

Our guest today is speaker and coach Harriet Waley-Cohen, who specialises in helping women improve their self-worth, tame their perfectionist and turn their inner critic into an inner cheerleader. She joins us to share her tips on how we can turn these negative voices into our supporters. I hope you find this episode really helpful.

Harriet also very kindly shared a free gift for our listeners which you can access here:

Follow Harriet on social media:

Harriet’s Book recommendations:

Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado-Perez

Sexy But Psycho: How the Patriarchy Uses Women’s Trauma Against Them by Jessica Taylor

Episode 24: The journey from doctor to patient with Professor Scarlett McNally 12/07/22

It’s the season 1 finale so we needed a very special guest, and who better than MWF President Elect Professor Scarlett McNally! Scarlett is an orthopaedic surgeon, exercise advocate, mother of four and all round inspiring medical woman.

Scarlett joins us to speak about her career, and she shares what she has learnt over the last few years of being both a doctor and a patient, and exciting things she is working on for the future.

We’ll be back in September for Season 2. In the meantime, look out for two very special compilation episodes featuring junior doctors and medical students. Why not take some time over the summer to catch up on our previous episodes you might have missed or relisten to your favourites.

We hope you get some time to rest, replenish and enjoy the sunshine!

To find out more about Scarlett:


Scarlett’s book recommendation: Confessions of a Knife: Meditations on the Art of Surgery by Richard Selzer 

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