Aims and method: To determine female authorship of original articles and editorials between January 1997 and December 2008 in the British Journal of Psychiatry and the Psychiatric Bulletin. Editorials from Advances in Psychiatric Treatment and the geographical region of the female first author of original articles were also included in the study.
Results: The gender was determined for 99.2% of the 2324 first authors of original articles and 100% of the 614 editorials. The percentage of original articles by female first authors fluctuated over the study period, ranging from 22.5 to 42.1% (mean 33.6) in the British Journal of Psychiatry, and from 25.5 to 46.8% (mean 37.6) in the Psychiatric Bulletin. There was a gross underrepresentation of females as first authors of editorials in all three journals. The percentage of female first authors of original articles from low- and middle-income countries ranged from 0.3 to 3.4% in both the British Journal of Psychiatry and the Psychiatric Bulletin.
Clinical implications: There is an increasing trend in female first authorship of original articles. However, females remain underrepresented, especially in editorials, in the British psychiatric journals examined. The representation of female first authors from low- and middle-income countries is disproportionately low. Strategies to address these inequalities should be implemented. Declaration of interest: M.E.O-E. is female.