By staff writers

February 27, 2018 -- Women are underrepresented in radiology globally, but most notably in the U.S. -- despite the fact that they make up half of U.S. medical school graduates, according to a study published online February 4 in Academic Radiology.

Researchers from Duke University Medical Center found that about a third of radiologists worldwide are female, but their representation is lowest in the U.S., at 27.2%.

The team led by Dr. Sarah Cater contacted 95 professional radiology organizations in 75 countries via email, asking for membership statistics (including proportion of female members), female members ages 35 and younger, and women in society leadership positions. The group also collected country-specific metrics such as gross domestic product, Gini index (which measures the income or wealth distribution of a nation's residents), percent female medical school enrollment, and Gender Development Index.

Of the organizations contacted, 29 provided data on 184,888 radiologists, for a response rate of 34.7%. Participating organizations represented 26 countries.

Cater's team found the following:

  • Around the world, 33.5% of radiologists are female, but female representation in radiology is lowest in the U.S., at 27.2%.
  • Female representation in radiology is highest in Thailand (85%) and most variable in Europe (mean of 40.1%, with a range of 28.8% to 68.9%).
  • Women constitute a higher proportion of younger radiologists, with 48.5% of radiologists ages 35 or younger being female.
  • The proportion of female radiologists was positively associated with a country's Gender Development Index (p = 0.006), percent female medical student enrollment (p = 0.001), and Gini index (p = 0.002).

"Countries with greater representation of women had higher gender equality and percent female medical school enrollment, suggesting these factors may play a role in the gender gap," the researchers concluded.

Copyright © 2018

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