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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Women in the medical academic workforce

Only 1 in 10 medical clinical professors are women in the United Kingdom (UK). No female professor was employed in 6 medical schools. The newer medical schools had a better gender balance than some of the more established schools.
For the lower ranks in medical academia these numbers are somewhat higher but still much lower than for men.
In FTEs lecturers in 2005: 36% were women, senior lecturers and readers: 25% were women. In 2005 there were a total of 3365 clinical academics, of whom 21% were women. There was a wide range in the number of professors per speciality; the majority were physicians. The percentage of women professors ranged from 0% (in occupational medicine) to 20% and over (e.g. in radiology, general practice). This gender difference remained relatively constant between 2004 and 2005.

These results were published in Medical Education. This study was needed since data available about gender-specific workforce in clinical academics were limited. These data are reported in order to allow comparison over time.

These data are also supported by a publication in the NEJM in July 2006 about The Gender Gap in Autorship of Academic Medical Literature.

Conclusions Over the past four decades, the proportion of women among both first and senior physician-authors of original research in the United States has significantly increased. Nevertheless, women still compose a minority of the authors of original research and guest editorials in the journals studied.

The United States of America is a favourable exception when it comes to enhancing the careers of women in clinical academics. In Europe conditions are far worse on academic careers for women.

Women and Science in Europe

Source: Women and Science Statistics and Indicators

Women and Science in The Netherlands
In The Netherlands 400 female professors are needed in the coming years in order to answer the European agreements in 2010.

What hinders academic careers for women?
1. Lack of role models and support for female staff
2. Family/carer commitments
3. Lack of network because there aren't many females. Men seem to help each other more to get in key positions
4. High levels of teaching, administrative and pastoral care loads for women. These tasks are not recognised as much as research output
5. Discrimination. Part time work in women is seen as lack of commitment
6. Generational and other issues. A large number of baby boomers in senior positions are not moving on.

For more information and staying up to date see the blog Women in Science.

Women and Science is dedicated to the women in science and engineering, past and present.

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