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Lack of Female Neurosurgeons Needs to Be Addressed

Although women account for 60 percent of U.S. medical graduates, very few train in neurosurgery

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Gender inequities are hampering the recruitment and promotion of women into the field of neurosurgery, according to a paper released online this week in advance of publication in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery.

Deborah L. Benzil, M.D., of New York Medical College in Hartsdale, N.Y., and colleagues from the Women in Neurosurgery White Paper Committee write that gender inequity has been found in neurosurgery training programs, within the workplace and within organized neurosurgery. As there is a dearth of female role models to mentor residents and junior faculty, the barriers to entry for women in neurosurgery are perpetuated. While male neurosurgeons are promoted, their female counterparts get left behind, and no leadership position in a neurological professional body has been held by a woman.

The committee makes the following recommendations: to characterize barriers to entry; eliminate discriminatory training and hiring practices; promote women into leadership positions in neurosurgery organizations; and foster the development of role models for women in neurosurgery.

"We emphasize that many of the changes recommended are likely to benefit all neurosurgeons, irrespective of gender, and to ensure the viability of our specialty in the future," the authors write. "Given the challenges facing neurosurgery and academic medicine in general, Women in Neurosurgery joins with all of organized neurosurgery in the desire to see neurosurgery continue to grow and prosper."

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