Number of Female Radiologists, Field Leaders Remains Low

May 21, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC-Women still not entering radiology residencies, taking leadership roles, despite increased awareness of gender disparity.

The number of women in radiology has not grown over the past 10 years, resulting in a disproportionately low number in the field, according to a presentation at ACR 2015, held this week in Washington, DC.

Researchers from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, in Newark, NJ, sought to determine if the increased awareness of this gender disparity has led to any tangible changes in gender representation in radiology.

The researchers examined the number of women represented across the 185 radiology residency programs in the U.S. The level of participation by women in leadership positions in the field was determined by examining the membership and committee lists of the American College of Radiology (ACR) and the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA); the mastheads of Radiology and the American Journal of Roentgenology; and the number of female program directors and academic chairs.

The results showed that since 2004, females have represented a consistent 27% of radiology residents with minimal yearly variation, while the percentage of female medical students has remained at approximately 46%.

The proportion of females on the masthead of the American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR) did increase from 15% in 2004 to 26% in 2014, but the proportion of females on the masthead of Radiology remained relatively constant at approximately 13%.

The percentage of female radiology residency program directors has been increasing and is currently at 30%, but a less obvious increase was seen in the percentage of chairwomen over the past decade. In 2004, 8% of chairs were women, and this grew to only 9.6% in 2014.

The researchers concluded, “Although the gender gap in radiology has been widely publicized and debated, the disproportionately low number of women in the field of radiology has remained relatively stagnant over the past 10 years. While there has been an increase in the number of women holding leadership positions as program directors and on the masthead of AJR, explanations must be sought for the relative unattractiveness of radiology to prospective female residents.”