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Female neurosurgeons in Europe - on a prevailing glass ceiling
EANS Academy. Hernandez Duran S. 09/26/19; 275970; EP10027
Silvia Hernandez Duran
Silvia Hernandez Duran

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Background: Almost half of currently practicing physicians in Europe are female. However, despite advances in access to training positions and increased entry of women into neurosurgery, this remains a male-dominated field, with gross underrepresentation of female leaders. In view of the latter, we designed a two-part study to better understand the current situation of European female neurosurgeons.
Materials and methods: The European Association of Neurosurgical Societies (EANS) and its member societies were analyzed for female participation in leadership positions. Additionally, an online survey was designed, containing 33 questions about key fields, such as career choice, mentorship, family planning, and perceived obstacles for women in neurosurgery.
Results: A total of 116 responses were received. Most females worked at academic institutions (76%). On average, 34% of trainees and 23% of the consultants were women at these institutions. Most female neurosurgeons lack same-sex role models (76%), even though the majority thinks that having a female mentor would be important (58%). An overwhelming majority (86%) feel like family planning takes on a more important role for women in neurosurgery, and 72% reported worrying that their career perspectives might be negatively affected by their desire to have a family. The biggest obstacle women perceive in their careers as neurosurgeons is prevailing inequality in opportunities (30%) and attaining leadership positions (24%). The majority (81%) believes that women have different concerns regarding their career in neurosurgery from men, and 72% also feel at disadvantage as a woman in neurosurgery. The majority (66%) thinks there should be a 'Women in Neurosurgery' committee within the EANS.
Conclusions: Unfortunately, there is still a gender gap in European neurosurgery. To date, the extent thereof has not been systematically analyzed. Our project offers a glimpse into the inequalities and obstacles women perceive in our field, but more comprehensive data are required.
Background: Almost half of currently practicing physicians in Europe are female. However, despite advances in access to training positions and increased entry of women into neurosurgery, this remains a male-dominated field, with gross underrepresentation of female leaders. In view of the latter, we designed a two-part study to better understand the current situation of European female neurosurgeons.
Materials and methods: The European Association of Neurosurgical Societies (EANS) and its member societies were analyzed for female participation in leadership positions. Additionally, an online survey was designed, containing 33 questions about key fields, such as career choice, mentorship, family planning, and perceived obstacles for women in neurosurgery.
Results: A total of 116 responses were received. Most females worked at academic institutions (76%). On average, 34% of trainees and 23% of the consultants were women at these institutions. Most female neurosurgeons lack same-sex role models (76%), even though the majority thinks that having a female mentor would be important (58%). An overwhelming majority (86%) feel like family planning takes on a more important role for women in neurosurgery, and 72% reported worrying that their career perspectives might be negatively affected by their desire to have a family. The biggest obstacle women perceive in their careers as neurosurgeons is prevailing inequality in opportunities (30%) and attaining leadership positions (24%). The majority (81%) believes that women have different concerns regarding their career in neurosurgery from men, and 72% also feel at disadvantage as a woman in neurosurgery. The majority (66%) thinks there should be a 'Women in Neurosurgery' committee within the EANS.
Conclusions: Unfortunately, there is still a gender gap in European neurosurgery. To date, the extent thereof has not been systematically analyzed. Our project offers a glimpse into the inequalities and obstacles women perceive in our field, but more comprehensive data are required.
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