Underrepresentation of women in radiology
In 1980, women made up 24% of all residency classes in medicine. Today, that number has grown to over 48% (1). Despite these trends in medical school and residency, women comprise only 8.8% of membership in the Society of Interventional Radiology and there are fewer women in IR than in specialties traditionally characterized as “male-dominated,” such as neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, and thoracic surgery (1-2). As an underrepresented minority, female interventional radiologists may not locally have the resources available or mentorship to guide them through the perinatal period, and may even be at risk for discrimination. Therefore, it is imperative to address misinformation, misperceptions, sources of anxiety, and strategies for success (2).
Supporting motherhood in radiology
Studies show that female residents experience depression more frequently than their male counterparts, with 1/3 of the disparity attributed to work-family conflict (3). In addition, documented challenges to new mothers in training include maternity leave, breastfeeding and breast-pumping, lack of mentorship, and lack of established institutional precedents for supporting motherhood in residency (4). Given the underrepresentation of women in IR these challenges hold true for faculty as well as trainees. A recent survey study of women IR’s showed that >50% of women reported doing the majority of household chores such as laundry, cooking, daily cleaning as well as serving as the family coordinators scheduling and attending doctors appointments and teacher conferences (5). Read more.
SIR supporting women
The Women in IR (WIR) Section promotes women within the specialty by inspiring and empowering women interventional radiologists to achieve their personal and professional goals and serve as a resource to the Executive Council. The WIR Section addresses a variety of topics relevant to physicians and is inclusive to all SIR members.