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PERSPECTIVE
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 70  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 1338--1339

Role of Women in Global Neurosurgery

Yoko Kato 
 Professor and Chair, Department of Neurosurgery, Fujita Health University, Banbuntaine Hotokakui Hospital, Aichi, Japan

Correspondence Address:
Yoko Kato
Professor and Chair, Department of Neurosurgery, Fujita Health University, Banbuntaine Hotokakui Hospital, Aichi
Japan




How to cite this article:
Kato Y. Role of Women in Global Neurosurgery.Neurol India 2022;70:1338-1339


How to cite this URL:
Kato Y. Role of Women in Global Neurosurgery. Neurol India [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Dec 8 ];70:1338-1339
Available from: https://www.neurologyindia.com/text.asp?2022/70/4/1338/355169


Full Text



Women in global neurosurgery (WIGN) have an important role for female neurosurgeons to dominate in current works of neurosurgery. There has been a worldwide increase in the number of female neurosurgeons, both in training and practice. Although this has become an increasing trend, gender equality, academic promotions, and work-life balance must be attended to. Particularly in developing and underdeveloped countries, there are several barriers for a female neurosurgeon that exist in every phase before entering residency, during training, and at the workplace. In the current global situation, there are few women in chief academic and leadership positions, and this situation needs to improve for WIGN. WIGN should be promoted and encouraged for fellowships, including sub-specialty training, academic activities, and work-life balance achievement. Furthermore, male neurosurgeons should encourage female neurosurgeons to become good leaders and mentors. This value can inspire confidence in the career of female neurosurgeons. We should address issues that are relevant in the present, focusing on the barriers faced by female neurosurgeons and the possible solutions to achieve gender equality in neurosurgery. An increase in the neurosurgical workforce is necessary to meet the growing burden of neurosurgical diseases, such as cerebrovascular accidents and traumatic brain injury. Thus, we need a number of neurosurgeons to take care of these patients equivalently, irrespective of the gender of the neurosurgeons. However, the small number of female neurosurgeons still remains to be a major obstacle in the current era. Despite 50% of medical students in the USA being female, only 8% of neurosurgeons are women, according to the American Medical Colleges (AAMC) in 2017.[1]

The number of WIGN continues to grow each passing year and we have witnessed good progress in the past decade with the number of female neurosurgeons and residents increasing in every part of the world. Some authors identified factors contributing to the gender disparity in this field. These factors include conference representation, the proverbial glass ceiling, lifestyle, mentoring, discrimination, interest, salary, and physical burden. The most frequent factor is mentorship: almost all previous studies find that it is very important. In fact, female medical students are more likely to enter a program with a higher proportion of female residents. Mentorship has also been shown to improve recruitment as well as retention of women in neurosurgery. The satisfied role of women mentorship can increase the number of female neurosurgeons in the future. The second important factor is lifestyle, such as work, family goals, and personal goals including work-life balance. The serious problem of work-life balance lead women in neurosurgery to quitting their neurosurgery careers, owing to difficulty in balancing their career and motherhood. A majority of the residents leaving surgical specialty irrespective of the gender is due to lifestyle reasons. This suggests that work-life balance is paramount to the newly joined surgical trainees regardless of gender, other reasons being unequal opportunities and discrimination. A questionnaire assessing the barriers faced by Indian women in 2017 found that 75% of women felt supported by their male colleagues and 40% reported discrimination attributing to their gender.[2] This supports the vital role of men in the field to mentor women at every stage of their careers. Having both genders actively involved in nurturing and encouraging women as they progress in their neurosurgical careers can assist women neurosurgeons in achieving great success.

The best solution for WIGN is providing a large network of women neurosurgeons across the globe who can help create a strong network of mentorship and learning opportunities in the society. Efforts to increase the global neurosurgical workforce can be made to achieve gender equity in neurosurgery. In conclusion, we support the promotion of gender equity in neurosurgery, need no conflict with broader efforts to increase the global neurosurgical workforce.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

References
1Bosch A, Rutka JT. Women in neurosurgery: Inequality redux. J Neurosurg 2018;129:277-81.
2Bhandari P. The challenges faced by Indian working women in various sector. PJAEE 2020;17:9162-70.