Are there gender disparities within academic pediatric radiology?

Women make up almost half of the academic pediatric radiology workforce, but there is still gender disparities among faculty positions, according to a recent study.

The analysis, published in Academic Radiology, looked at the total workforce across the U.S. and Canada and found that women hold more leadership positions than men, but fewer senior academic ranking positions.

Despite these findings, William B. Counter, University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, and colleagues, believe the disparities could become smaller over time.

Over the past few decades, there have been improvements in reducing the disparities between men and women within academic and clinical radiology. And while there is no data regarding the gender makeup within academic pediatric radiology, previous figures have shown women make up as few as 21% of radiologists.

The researchers analyzed a list of 170 U.S. diagnostic radiology programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education along with 13 accredited Canadian programs. Counter et al. looked at the distribution of male and female faculty members across geographical regions, faculty ranks and leadership roles.

Overall, women occupied 46.6% of the total academic pediatric radiology workforce, the authors reported. Women made up 51.3% of faculty members in Canada, while they made up 45.7% of the workforce in the U.S. 

Broken down by academic rank, a majority (71.4%) of professors and associate professors were men rather than women (66.1%), but women held more (54.8%) assistant professorships.

“Our findings are very much in line with other studies that examined gender distribution across academic ranks and showed that the greater disparities exist within the more senior academic roles,” the authors noted. “…this could signify that the disparities observed at the more senior positions will become less prevalent with time as the natural progression from assistant professors to professors occurs.”

Additionally, women held more leadership roles than men. This included primary leadership positions such as director, chair, division head/chief (56.8%); and most (66.7%) of the secondary roles such as vice chair and assistant director.

“In conclusion, we found evidence of gender disparity within the academic pediatric radiology faculty workforce with a small but significantly higher number of men in pediatric radiology faculty positions, the researchers wrote.

Although the majority of senior academic faculty positions are currently held by men, there is evidence that the academic pediatric radiology faculty workforce could be becoming more balanced with respect to gender.”