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Women Underrepresented in Radiology


Underrepresentation is highly variable at state, county, and practice levels.

Women are underrepresented in the national radiologist workforce compared with nonradiologists, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

Researchers from NYU Langone Medical Center in New York, Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Ga., sought to assess geographic variation in gender disparities in the U.S. radiologist workforce.

The researchers reviewed the gender, location, and practice affiliation of all radiologists, and gender of all nonradiologists were identified for all providers listed in the Medicare Physician Compare database. Variation in female representation among radiologists was summarized at state, county, and individual practice levels, and associations with a variety of county-level population characteristics were explored.

The results showed that nationally, 7,501 of 32,429 (23.1 percent) of all radiologists were women versus 481,831 of 1,034,909 (46.6 percent) of Medicare-participating nonradiologists.

At the state level, female representation among radiologists was overall highest in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.

Percentage of female radiologistsWashington, DC: 39.3 percent
Massachusetts: 34.3 percent
Maryland: 31.5 percent
Wyoming: 9 percent
Montana: 10.7 percent
Idaho: 11.7 percent

At the county level, female representation varied from 0 percent to 100 percent, with weak positive correlations with:

• County-level population (r = +0.39)
• Median household income (r = +0.25)
• College education (r = +0.23)
• English nonproficiency (r = +0.21)
• Mammography screening rates (r = +0.12)
• Democratic voting in the 2016 presidential election (r = +0.28)
• Weak negative correlation with county-level rural population percentage (r = −0.32)

Practices that had 10 members or more had great variability with female representation, ranging from 0 percent to 100 percent. Female representation was higher among academic (32.3 percent) than nonacademic (20.6 percent) radiologists, and in states with higher female-to-male relative earnings (r = +0.556).

The researchers concluded that compared with nonradiologists, women are underrepresented in the national radiologist workforce. This underrepresentation is highly variable at state, county, and practice levels and is partially explained by a variety of demographic, socioeconomic, and political factors. These insights could help inform and drive initiatives to reduce gender disparities and more actively engage women in the specialty.

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