Improving diversity, inclusion, and representation in radiology and radiation oncology part 2: challenges and recommendations.
PURPOSE In consideration of the fact that women constitute only 25% of radiology residents, even though they constitute 45% of medical students, this study was conducted to determine if the trend of women choosing radiology as a career differs from that for other medical specialties and if there are differences on the basis of the gender of program directors or geographic location. The authors also wished to determine if constraints exist that prevent women from advancing into positions of leadership in radiology. METHOD The percentage of women in each of the 186 radiology residency programs was compiled to determine the mean and standard deviation of women represented and from those data to examine if there were patterns of exclusion related to program size, location, or the gender of program directors. The membership and committee lists of the ACR and the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) were examined to gauge the participation of women as leaders in these 2 organizations, as were the mastheads of Radiology and the American Journal of Roentgenology. The number of female chairs of academic departments was also examined. RESULTS Over the past decade, the percentage of women in diagnostic radiology residencies has remained remarkably constant at or slightly above 25%. There was no discernable prejudice against women applicants by program size, location, or program director gender. In both the ACR and the RSNA, women are represented in positions of leadership approximately in proportion to their percentage in the general membership. Journal mastheads have fewer women than might be expected given the participation of women in academic radiology. There are a small but increasing number of women chairing academic radiology departments. CONCLUSION The relatively low percentage of women in diagnostic radiology residencies is not a reflection of the gender of program directors. Women are represented in positions of influence and authority in major organizations in American radiology in proportion to the overall number of women in the organization. However, women continue to be underrepresented in radiology chair positions. Explanations must be sought for the relative unattractiveness of radiology to prospective women residents and barriers to the advancement of women in academic radiology.