Why Aren't There More Women in Diagnostic Radiology?
Understanding why women choose other specialties over radiology can help us better address possible misperceptions.
Pause. Take a moment to simply observe the crowd passing by at the McCormick Place in Chicago at the annual RSNA meeting this year. Do you notice anything? To those of us who have been attending this meeting for years, it appears to have the usual hustle and bustle of innovation and inspiration. To so many of us who feel at home at this meeting, it is not immediately obvious that there is a drastic gender discrepancy.
Why aren't there more women in radiology? There are approximately equal numbers of men and women in medical schools; however, women only represent about 25% of radiologists — a percentage that has not changed much over time. Is this due to limited exposure to radiology during medical school, leading them to see radiologists exclusively in the context of a dark reading room? Is this due to poor institutional recruitment efforts?
In this episode of The Radiology Firing Line (RFL), recorded on Monday, November 28 at RSNA 2016, University of Southern California radiology fellows, Ashley Prosper, MD, and Kristina Hoque, MS, MD, PhD, discuss the matter with RFL moderator C. Matt Hawkins, MD, Director, Pediatric Vascular Interventional Radiology at Emory University Hospital, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.
Admittedly, in this brief episode, we cannot wholly elucidate the underlying reasons that so few women join our field. However, the act of acknowledging the gap and encouraging open conversation paves the way for more in-depth future analysis.
While our field owes tremendous gratitude to our original female pioneer, Madame (Marie) Curie, we must continue to support young female radiologists. The American Association for Women Radiologists has been dutifully fulfilling this mission for the past 35 years. I have felt wonderfully supported by the AAWR and ACR leadership on my own journey of professional development. However, beyond the supportive pillars of the ACR, the gender gap is real, palpable, and often intimidating to trainees. Hopefully, this episode will encourage each of us to pause, contemplate, and continue an open dialogue on the gender gap in radiology so that, collectively, we can move toward greater diversity in our profession.