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Conference: Celebrating 30 Years of Women in Surgery

Start 9:00 AM
End 5:00 PM
  • RCS England fellows and members £30, RCS England affiliates and pre-MRCS members £15, RCS England associate members £15, non-members £60
RCS England fellows and members £30, RCS England affiliates and pre-MRCS members £15, RCS England associate members £15, non-members £60

Event overview

Since the founding of the Women in Surgery (WinS) network three decades ago, the number of female consultant surgeons has risen from 3% to 13.9%. Women are now represented in all ten surgical specialties and at all career stages.

Join us on Friday 10 September 2021 for the first virtual WinS conference, which this year marks 30 years of the Women in Surgery initiative at RCS England. The conference will be a celebration of the network’s past, hearing from trailblazing women in surgery and their stories. We’ll recognise the present, and be inspired by role models and pioneers both in surgery and beyond. And we’ll look forward to the bright future of our continuing mission to improve gender equality and raise the profile of women in surgery. 


Hear from some of the most influential women in surgery, law and business as they join us in celebrating 30 years of the Women in Surgery initiative at RCS England. We will be adding our speakers profiles over the coming weeks so watch this space.

Who should attend?

This virtual event is open to all career grades and specialties. If you're interested in receiving practical advice, hearing real-life stories and networking online with a range of inspirational women, this is the event for you.

Sessions that will be included:

  • stepping through the history of women in surgery;
  • leadership and how to reach your goals;
  • personal development and work–life balance;
  • keynote speeches from inspirational speakers such as Baroness Helena Kennedy, Baroness Shami Chakrabarti and Dame Jane Dacre;
  • opportunities to ask any questions you might have to our illustrious speakers.

Join us

Are you a member of our Women in Surgery network? Join us and stay up to date with the latest opportunities, news and events. You'll also gain access to our directory, so you can connect with female surgeons across the UK. Don't forget, members and fellows of The Royal College of Surgeons of England are able to get discounts on events like this one. Find out more about our membership benefits today.

Follow us

Stay up to date with Women in Surgery news, including announcements regarding this conference with our Twitter @WomenSurgeonsUK.


If you have any questions or queries regarding the day or Women in Surgery, please do not hesitate to contact us on


Programme highlights

Session 1: Stepping through history

  • Opening remarks – Professor Neil Mortensen, President of RCS England
  • History of Women in Surgery – Ms Katherine Conroy, specialty trainee and committee member of the British Society for the History of ENT
  • Roundtable: Meet the WinS Forum – Professor Averil Mansfield, founder of WiST, Professor Farah Bhatti OBE, Chair of WinS, Miss Scarlett McNally, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon and Miss Saniya Mediratta, academic foundation doctor

Session 2: Overcoming challenges

  • Keynote – Baroness Shami Chakrabarti, British Labour Party politician, barrister, and human rights activist
  • Keynote – Dr Liz O’Riordan, international speaker, broadcaster and co-author of The Complete Guide to Breast Cancer          

Session 3: Caring for your career

  • Work-life balance and flexible working – Miss Rebecca Fisher, IST trainee in General Surgery
  • Conversations about leadership – Dr Laura Gartshore, Undergraduate BDS Programme Director, senior lecturer and honorary consultant in Paediatric Dentistry and  Professor Farah Bhatti OBE, Chair of WinS
  • Mentoring, coaching or sponsoring – Miss Scarlet McNally, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon
  • Making the most of your portfolio – Miss Scarlet Nazarian, General Surgical Registrar
  • Compassion and collaboration in perioperative teams – Professor Michael West CBE, Senior Visiting Fellow, The King’s Fund, Professor of Organizational Psychology, Lancaster University and Emeritus Professor, Aston University

Session 4: Looking to the future

  • Keynote – Baroness Helena Kennedy, barrister, broadcaster, and Labour member of the House of Lords
  • HeForShe – Advocacy and allyship – Simon Fleming, Orthopaedic Registrar, PhD candidate, trainee representative, International Orthopaedic Diversity Alliance (IODA)
  • Getting interested in gender pay gaps - Dame Jane Dacre, professor of medical education, physician and rheumatologist
  • The next 30 years – Professor Farah Bhatti OBE, Chair of WinS


Keynote speakers

Shami Chakrabarti

Baroness Shami Chakrabarti is a human rights lawyer, campaigner, life peer and privy counsellor. She was the director of Liberty (the National Council for Civil Liberties) from 2003 to 2016 and the Shadow Attorney General from 2016 until 2020. She is a Master of the Bench of the Middle Temple and carried the Olympic Flag at the London Games in 2012. She was formerly Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University and the University of Essex. She has written, spoken and broadcast widely and is the author of two books: On Liberty (2014) and Of Women (2017). Both are published by Penguin.


Liz O’Riordan

Liz O’Riordan is an international speaker, broadcaster and award-winning co-author of ‘The Complete Guide to Breast Cancer: How to Feel Empowered and Take Control’ (Penguin) with Professor Trisha Greenhalgh. In 2015 (aged 40) she was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer whilst working as a consultant oncoplastic breast surgeon in Ipswich. In 2018 she had a locoregional recurrence on her chest wall. The side effects of treatment forced her to retire as a surgeon in 2019.


Helena Kennedy

Baroness Helena Kennedy QC is one of Britain's most distinguished lawyers. She has spent her professional life giving voice to those who have least power within the system, championing civil liberties and promoting human rights. She has conducted many prominent cases of terrorism, official secrets and homicide. She is the founding force behind the establishment of the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights at the University of Oxford. In 1997, she was elevated to the House of Lords where she is a Labour peer. She has published a number of books including two on how the justice system is failing women and has written and broadcasted on many issues over the years. Currently, she has taken on the role of Director of the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute. She directs the Institute’s work upholding the rule of law and human rights globally.


Jane Dacre

Dame Jane Dacre is the former Director of UCL Medical School and an honorary consultant rheumatologist, at Whittington Health in London. She is a Professor of Medical Education at UCL and the president of the Medical Protection Society and a specialist advisor to parliament on the Health and Care Committee  She is the immediate past president of the Royal College of Physicians and was also vice-chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, medical director of MRCPUK examination, academic vice president of the RCP and a GMC council member. Her research is in medical education focussing on assessment and equality.  She was the lead for the Department of Health and Social Care review of the Gender Pay Gap in Medicine, with Professor Carol Woodhams from Surrey University Business School. This review ‘Mend the Gap: The Independent Review into Gender Pay Gaps in Medicine in England’ was published in December 2020.


Simon Fleming

SimonFlemingis a London-based Trauma and Orthopaedic registrar. He is a founding member and trainee representative for the International Orthopaedic Diversity Alliance (IODA), on the executive boards for the NIHR Clinical Education Incubator and the Faculty of Surgical Trainers and associate editor for Medical Education and The Clinical Teacher. He is also past vice-chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges Trainee Doctors’ Group (ATDG) and a Past President of the British Orthopaedic Trainees Association (BOTA).


Speakers and Chairs 

Farah Bhatti

Professor Farah Bhatti OBE is a consultant cardiothoracic surgeon in Swansea. She read medicine at Somerville College, Oxford and Jesus College Cambridge and has an MD in transplantation. Farah is passionate about teaching and training. She teaches at Swansea University Medical School, where she is the lead for both Careers and Equality and Diversity. Specialty roles at national level include being an examiner for the Intercollegiate Specialty Board and a panel member for National Recruitment into Cardiothoracic Surgery. Professor Bhatti has been Chair of Women in Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons of England since 2016 and was elected to RCS England Council in 2018.


Scarlet McNally

Mrs Scarlett McNally, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon in Eastbourne, was an elected Council member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England (2011-2021). Scarlet is currently Deputy Director of She worked on several RCS England studies and ‘Exercise the miracle cure’. Scarlet has four children, now adults, and works part-time with myeloma and cardiac amyloidosis. See or @scarlettmcnally on Twitter.


Averil Mansfield

Professor Averil Mansfield is a retired vascular surgeon. She was educated at her local primary and grammar schools in Blackpool and then at Liverpool University. After graduation, she trained in surgery in Liverpool and in addition spent two years in the USA. She became a consultant general surgeon first in Liverpool and later moved to London. In London, she practiced as a vascular surgeon and later became Professor of Vascular Surgery at Imperial College and Director of the Academic Surgical Unit at St Mary’s Hospital. She has been President of the Association of Surgeons, the Vascular Surgical Society and the section of Surgery of the Royal Society of Medicine. She was Vice-President of the RCS England and President of the British Medical Association. She is also the founder of Women in Surgical Training.


Scarlet Nazarian

Miss Scarlet Nazarian is a general surgical registrar in London, currently undertaking a PhD (the Darzi fellowship) at Imperial College London in surgical innovation. She graduated from UCL with a BSc in Pharmacology. She is a keen educator and hopes to encourage more students and junior doctors to pursue a career in surgery. As a female surgeon, she aims to break down the stereotypes about women pursuing surgery as a career. She continues to bust myths surrounding the surgical field via her Instagram and TikTok @thefemalesurgeon.


Michael West

Professor Michael West CBE is Senior Visiting Fellow at The King’s Fund, London and Professor of Organisational Psychology at Lancaster University, Visiting Professor at University College, Dublin, and Emeritus Professor at Aston University, where he was formerly Executive Dean of Aston Business School. He graduated from the University of Wales in 1973 and was awarded a PhD in 1977 for research on the psychology of meditation. He has authored, edited and co-edited 20 books and has published more than 200 articles in scientific and practitioner publications on teamwork, innovation, leadership, and culture, particularly in healthcare. He is a fellow of the British Psychological Society, the American Psychological Association (APA), the APA Society for Industrial/Organisational Psychology, the Academy of Social Sciences, the International Association of Applied Psychologists and the British Academy of Management. He is an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. He led the review for The King’s Fund (commissioned by the RCN Foundation) into the mental health and well-being of nurses and midwives across the UK, The Courage of Compassion: Supporting Nurses and Midwives to Deliver High Quality Care (2020). He was appointed a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2020 for services to compassion and innovation in healthcare.


Laura Gartshore

Dr Laura Gartshore is a senior lecturer and honorary consultant in paediatric dentistry at the University of Liverpool School of Dentistry, where she became Undergraduate Programme Director in 2019. Laura completed the RCS England Lady Estelle Wolfson Emerging Leaders Fellowship in 2018-2019. Following this, Laura has taken up opportunities to work with RCS England and WinS as a speaker, mentor and educator. Laura has published her experiences of the Emerging Leaders Programme with advice on how to make the most of it in the RCS England Bulletin, 'From Fellowship to Leadership' and for the RCS England 'Choose to Challenge' initiative earlier this year. She has an active interest in gender bias in our professions and in our supporting each other to access leadership opportunities.


Katherine Conroy

Katherine Conroy is a specialty trainee in otolaryngology in the Northwestern Deanery with a special interest in the history of surgery, completing an MSc in the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at the University of Manchester. She has recently been appointed to the committee of the British Society for the History of ENT.


Victoria Pegna

Miss Victoria Pegna is a St7 colorectal registrar in the KSS Deanery. She is also the co-founder of the RCS England Sustainability in Surgery (SiS) Committee. She has been a WinS member for over a decade and is on the WinS Committee. Victoria is currently the only registrar as a member of RCS England Council (although hopefully this will change as more registrars apply in the future). She was on the Kennedy Review panel with Baroness Kennedy, and is a huge advocate for increasing diversity in surgery at every level.

Saniya Mediratta

Ms Saniya Mediratta is a neurosurgery trainee in London. She sits on the European Associations of Neurosurgical Societies CSF Task Force and is a member of the NIHR Global Health Research Group on Neurotrauma where she is co-PI of the Global Neurotrauma Outcomes Study: Spine. Saniya became a committee member of The Royal College of Surgeons of England’s Women in Surgery Forum in 2017 whilst she was a fourth year medical student at Imperial College London. Preceding this, Saniya was on RCS England’s Future Surgeons Forum for two years as co-founder of the British Forum of Aspiring of Surgeons. She is passionate about the WinS Forum’s mission to increase diversity in surgery, provide mentorship and encourage more women to venture into STEM and surgical careers, and has recently launched the WinS Forum’s 30 Schools for 30 Years Initiative.

Post Event Information


Booking Options

Please note we operate a 1 day cancellation policy.

Please note this is not an intercollegiate member benefit.

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