Gender issues from the perspective of health-care professionals in Neuro-oncology: an EANO and EORTC Brain Tumor Group survey.
- NORLUX Neuro-Oncology Laboratory
Background: Women represent an increasing proportion of the overall workforce in medicine but are underrepresented in leadership roles. Methods: To explore gender inequalities and challenges in career opportunities, a web-based survey was conducted among the membership of the European Association of Neuro-Oncology and the Brain Tumor Group of the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer. Results: A total of 228 colleagues responded to the survey: 129 women (median age 45 years; range, 25-66 years) and 99 men (median age 48 years; range, 24-81 years); 153 participants (67%) were married and 157 participants (69%) had at least 1 child. Women less often declared being married (60% vs 77%, P = .007) or having a child (63% vs 77%, P = .024). Men more frequently had a full-time position (88% vs 75%, P = .036). Women and men both perceived an underrepresentation of women in leadership positions. Half of participants agreed that the most important challenges for women are leading a team and obtaining a faculty position. Fewer women than men would accept such a position (42% vs 56%). The main reasons were limited time for career and an inappropriate work and life balance. Women specifically cited negative discrimination, limited opportunities, and lack of self-confidence. Discrimination of women at work was perceived by 64% of women vs 47% of men (P = .003). Conclusion: Women are perceived as experiencing more difficulties in acquiring a leadership position. Personal preferences may account for an underrepresentation of women in leadership positions, but perceived gender inequalities extend beyond disparities of access to leadership.