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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Women in radiology: gender diversity is not a metric-it is a tool for excellence.

  • Author(s): Kubik-Huch, Rahel A
  • Vilgrain, Valérie
  • Krestin, Gabriel P
  • Reiser, Maximilian F
  • Attenberger, Ulrike I
  • Muellner, Ada U
  • Hess, Christopher P
  • Hricak, Hedvig
  • et al.

Women in Focus: Be Inspired was a unique programme held at the 2019 European Congress of Radiology that was structured to address a range of topics related to gender and healthcare, including leadership, mentoring and the generational progression of women in medicine. In most countries, women constitute substantially fewer than half of radiologists in academia or private practice despite frequently accounting for at least half of medical school enrolees. Furthermore, the proportion of women decreases at higher academic ranks and levels of leadership, a phenomenon which has been referred to as a "leaky pipeline". Gender diversity in the radiologic workplace, including in academic and leadership positions, is important for the present and future success of the field. It is a tool for excellence that helps to optimize patient care and research; moreover, it is essential to overcome the current shortage of radiologists. This article reviews the current state of gender diversity in academic and leadership positions in radiology internationally and explores a wide range of potential reasons for gender disparities, including the lack of role models and mentorship, unconscious bias and generational changes in attitudes about the desirability of leadership positions. Strategies for both individuals and institutions to proactively increase the representation of women in academic and leadership positions are suggested. KEY POINTS: • Gender-diverse teams perform better. Thus, gender diversity throughout the radiologic workplace, including in leadership positions, is important for the current and future success of the field. • Though women now make up roughly half of medical students, they remain underrepresented among radiology trainees, faculty and leaders. • Factors leading to the gender gap in academia and leadership positions in Radiology include a lack of role models and mentors, unconscious biases, other societal barriers and generational changes.

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