Women are the majority in Medicine but less than 30% are in leadership positions

Study data Women in Medicine in Spain (WOMEDS)a pioneering project promoted by the Federation of Spanish Medical Scientific Associations (Facme) to identify the gender gap in the medical profession in Spain, are conclusive: medicine is a profession with an eminently female presence, but only between 20 and 30% of leadership positions are held by women.

This was explained by the president of this federation, Pilar Garrido, and who has added that there is a lack of women in positions such as service or section heads, presidencies of scientific societies or deaneries. But in addition, she asserts that they do not lead projects either and in general those that do lead are poorly financed.

To do this, the project has analyzed the leadership positions during the 2019-2021 period in four areas and with the data provided by 12 communities, which represent 70% of the population: health care, participation in professional organizations (scientific societies, medical congresses, professional associations), academic positions and research.

Neither service nor section heads

Regarding the first, the research, pending publication in a scientific journal, reveals that in June 2021, 61% of doctors who worked in public health centers in Spain were women; however, the percentage of women heads of service ranged from 20.3% in Andalusia to 46.7% in Navarra.

The bias is not as pronounced in the section heads, a position not as visible as the previous one, but it does yield “figures with room for improvement” and variation according to the community, which is are between 24.8% of Aragon and 53.2%, has shelled Beatriz González López-Valcárcel, professor of Health Economics.

Only 7 autonomies provided data broken down by specialty, and once again “the great variability and low female representation” can be appreciated.

The same can be seen in professional organizations: only 3 scientific societies of the 46 that make up Facme had a female president in the 2019-2021 triennium –the Spanish Society of Clinical Pharmacology (SEFC), the Spanish Society of Endocrinology (SEEN) and the Spanish Society of Laboratory Medicine (SEQC-ML)- and 8 of both sexes. The rest were men.

Less speakers and deans

The same is reproduced in medical congresses «systematic pattern underrepresentation of women”, so that the ratio of speakers was greater than one only in three -those organized by Spanish Society of Nuclear Medicine, the Spanish Society of Cardiology and the Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology-.

The boards of directors official medical associations they have a percentage of women that oscillates between 11% in Burgos and 64.3% in Cantabria. But only 7 of the 51 had a female president from 2019 to 2021, while the position of deputy secretary was held by women in 38.6%.

In the medical academies, for their part, heThe figure varies between 0 for Salamanca, Seville, Asturias, Galicia and Valladolid and 50% for Catalonia, the most frequent position being that of general secretary (23.1%). In the 44 Faculties of Medicine that existed in 2021 (today there are 46), 45% of medical teachers (13,567) were women.

However, the number of those who held stable teaching positions (civil servant or labor) was much lower than that of men, especially in the highest, so that there were only 10% of women professors with a linked care position and 28 % of female professors in total, unlike temporary teaching figures, where the percentage is similar or even higher.

Fewer projects with less funding

The number of doctors who direct doctoral theses it is only 38%; that of department directors 26% and that of deans 27% in the 20/21 academic year. “The situation in the universities is worrying,” lamented Carmen Gallardo, vice president of the Deans’ Conference.

Less than half -45%- of the projects presented in 2020 were led by women, but in some modalities, such as independent clinical research, 22%. Similarly, heThe average funding granted to women was 24.3% lower than that of men.

In 2021, around 50% of the 4,377 members of the research groups integrated into CIBER in Spain they were women, but only 26% of group leaders were women. That same year, in the 32 accredited Health Research Institutes (IIS), only 3 of the 22 medical scientific directors were women (13.6%).

Likewise, the women who applied for and received aid from the program to intensify research activity, which facilitates dedication to this activity by attending physicians, they were around 30% in the years 2019 and 2020 and 40% in 2021. All of which leads to this conclusion, according to Garrido: «Women are good at working, but not at leading.

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