December 2019 - A group of prominent European and North American members of the radiological community have collaborated to produce an important publication on the status of women in the field of radiology, highlighting positive developments as well as areas where greater progress is needed.
Published in European Radiology, the special report, ‘Women in Radiology: Gender diversity is not a metric – it is a tool for excellence’, reviews the current state of gender diversity in academic and leadership positions in radiology internationally, exploring a wide range of potential reasons for gender disparities, including the lack of role models and mentorship, unconscious bias, and generational changes in attitudes about the desirability of leadership positions. The report also offers strategies to proactively increase the representation of women in academic and leadership positions. Contributing authors to the paper include Prof. Rahel Kubik-Huch, Prof. Valérie Vilgrain, Prof. Gabriel Krestin, Prof. Maximillian Reiser, Prof. Ulrike Attenberger, Prof. Christopher Hess and Prof. Hedvig Hricak.
The publication of this special report is intended as a follow-up to the unique ‘Women in Focus’ programme, which was held at this year’s European Congress of Radiology (ECR) in Vienna. The event, which was chaired by Prof. Hricak in coordination with the European Society of Radiology, saw a range of diverse speakers discussing issues of particular concern for women working in the medical field. It included audience participation and touched on important issues for young professionals such as leadership, mentoring, and facing challenging environments. To read more about ‘Women in Focus’ and to view all the highlights, click here.
Prof. Hricak, who is Chairman of the Department of Radiology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, highlights that the need to address issues of gender balance and diversity is more important than ever. ‘Today, workforce diversity is acknowledged as an essential tool to better adapt to the needs of our complex environment,’ she said. ‘Research in multiple industries has shown that including people of diverse genders, races, cultural backgrounds, skill sets, and viewpoints results in increased workforce engagement and enhanced critical decision-making. This fosters greater innovation and patient satisfaction - proving that diversity should be seen not as a mere addendum to a job announcement, but as the heart and soul of a successful workforce.’
Prof. Kubik, who is Chairman of the Department of Radiology at Kantonsspital Baden, Switzerland, added. ‘It is important to realise that gender diversity and equality is not just a women’s issue. It is about shaping our future together – in radiology, in leadership and as a society.’
In addition to the special report in European Radiology, the ‘Women in Focus’ programme inspired a publication entitled, ‘Safe spaces for women in challenging environments’. This editorial comment, which was published in The Lancet Global Health in August, focusses on the millions of women worldwide who struggle for basic human rights every day. It encourages all women to support each other across the boundaries of race, culture, and tradition.