Background: Despite advances in the representation of women in medical training, women continue to be underrepresented in cardiology, academic medicine, and senior positions within academic medicine. This study seeks to determine the representation of female physician-investigators in cardiology through review of published literature in three prominent cardiology journals over time. Understanding disparities in research productivity can highlight barriers to female representation in academic cardiology.
Methods: Authors of original research articles between 1980 and 2017 from three high impact cardiology journals (Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Circulation, and European Heart Journal) were extracted from PubMed. Author sex were determined and the proportion of female first and senior authors were calculated for consecutive time cohorts.
Results: We identified 78,558 unique authors of 55,085 primary research articles. Female authors accounted for 33.1% of all authors, however they represented only 26.7% of first authors and 19.7% of senior authors (p < 0.001 for both). Looking at the most prolific authors, female authors are also underrepresented, accounting for only 5% of the top 100 authors.
Conclusions: Using a large database of published manuscripts, we found that female representation in cardiology research has increased over the last four decades. However there is still disproportionate underrepresentation in first authorship, senior authorship and in authors with the most publications. In addition to recruiting more women into cardiology, further efforts should be made to identify and address barriers in advancement for female physician-scientists.