Better working conditions are needed to boost women into more senior medical jobs, says Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson.
Every year Sir Donaldson completes a government report "On the State of Public Health" which reviews key health problems and developments.
This year he has found that not enough women are taking on high-ranking medical roles.
Data shows two thirds of new medical students are women, yet only 30% carry on to become consultants.
Studies also show that women working as doctors often regret entering the profession due to the barriers they face in career progression.
Sir Donaldson says improved flexibility in working patterns and increased childcare facilities for NHS staff will help women to develop their careers.
Department of Health