Gender inequality in medicine is a long-standing issue that demands the need for change. As we’ve reported previously, the gender gap prevails in academic radiology, however some institutions are experiencing a sea change. According to a recent study published in Radiology, despite the fact that men represent 71.5 percent of academic radiologists, men and women are made full professors at equal rates across U.S. universities.
Researchers at Brigham and Women’s used Doximity, a social media network for physicians, to evaluate full professorship rates among male and female radiologists. They looked at 5,089 academic radiologists, or approximately 11.3 percent of all radiologists working in the U.S. in 2014. Although they found academic radiology was comprised of 71.5 percent males, 16.5 percent of women radiologists were full professors, compared with 26.1 percent of male full professors. According to lead author Neena Kapoor, MD, a diagnostic radiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the trajectory of medical school faculty appointments indicates that women and men have equal chances of being made full professor. They also found that instances of lead female authorship has increased over the years.
Although a 10 percent lead of male full professors to their female counterparts does point to somewhat of a more even playing field than in other specialties, many factors still exist that influence this gender disparity. According to the study, National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding, publications, clinical trial investigation, and Medicare revenue play apart in the uneven distribution of academic opportunities.
“Women may be more likely to choose clinical or educational tracks which have different promotional criteria and research requirements,” said Dr. Kapoor. “We need to work on getting male and female radiologists on an equal playing field — not just in terms of having equal promotional criteria.”