A promising trend: Women carving out larger share of radiology workforce

Radiology remains a field primarily populated by men, but new research hints that the gender gap in diversity may be closing.

This summer, the Journal of the American College of Radiology released survey results from the ACR Commission on Human Resources regarding the makeup of the radiology workplace for 2017. The survey, conducted by Edward I. Bluth, MD, Swati Bansai, MD, and Claire E. Bender, MD, identified plans for hiring radiologists.

According to survey results, of all practicing radiologists in the United States, 33 percent responded to the survey. Only 21.5 percent of all practicing radiologists in the U.S. are women. Also, 30 percent of part-time radiologists are women, and 10 percent are men, according to survey results.

"Except for the 35- to 45-year-old group, the percentages of women working full-time in all the other age groups is less than the 21.5 percent of women working in radiology," wrote lead author Bluth and colleagues.

The survey results also found more women under the age of 45 in the U.S. practicing radiology than over 45 and that there is an increase of women radiologists working part-time. Additionally, not only are the survey results telling of a promising increase of young women in the radiology workforce, but also alludes to having more patients, especially those diverse in sex, religion and ethnicity, feel more comfortable during radiology appointments.

“The results of this survey show that females are appropriately represented as leaders of their groups based on the current gender distribution of full-time radiologists,” Bluth wrote.

Ensuring a patient's comfort level is not the only benefit of these trends. Having more women in the radiology workforce also attributes to diversified leadership, increased inclusivity of patients and methods during practice, earlier exposure to medical school and influencing the media's perspective of women in the medical field.

Read ACR's entire study for more information and additional survey results.