Gender influence on work satisfaction and leadership for medical oncologists: a survey of the Spanish Society of Medical Oncology (SEOM)
Background Women represent an increasing proportion of the oncology workforce; however, globally this does not translate into leadership roles, reflecting disparities in career opportunities between men and women. The Spanish Society of Medical Oncology (SEOM) undertook a survey to investigate gender disparity in the Spanish oncology context. Design An online survey was made available to SEOM medical oncologists between February and May 2019. It included demographics, professional context and achievements, parenthood and family conciliation issues, workplace gender bias, and approaches to address disparities. Results Of the 316 eligible respondents, 71.5% were women, 59.5% were aged 45 or younger, and 66.1% had children. Among women, 12.4% were division or unit heads, compared with 45.5% of men, with most women (74.3%) being attending medical oncologists, compared with 45.5% of men. More males were professors (34.4% versus 14.2% of females), had a PhD (46.7% versus 28.8%), and/or had led clinical research groups (41.1% versus 9.7%). Spending time overseas after completing a residency was also more common for men than women (34.4% versus 20.4%). Professional satisfaction was similar between genders, driven primarily by patient care and intellectual stimulation. More women (40.7%) considered parenthood to have a strong negative impact on their career, compared with men (9.0%). Main perceived barriers to gender equality included a lack of work–life balance (72.6% women, 44.4% men), bias of peers and superiors (50.0% women, 18.9% men), and different career goals (41.2% women, 24.4% men). Preferred solutions included educational programs and scholarships (52.9%), communication and leadership training (35.8%), childcare at conferences (33.2%), and postmaternity return-to-work incentives (32.0%). Conclusion There is a clear paucity of equal opportunities for female oncologists in Spain. This can be addressed by encouraging professional development and merit recognition particularly for younger female oncologists, and empowering women to be involved in management and leadership of institutions and professional societies.
Gender; Survey; Oncology
Elez E, Ayala F, Felip E, García Campelo R, García Carbonero R, García Donás J, et al. Gender influence on work satisfaction and leadership for medical oncologists: a survey of the Spanish Society of Medical Oncology (SEOM). ESMO Open. 2021 Apr;6(2):100048.
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