Striving for Gender Equity in Academic Medicine Careers: A Call to Action

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Abstract

Women represent approximately half of students entering medical schools and more than half of those entering PhD programs. When advancing through the academic and professional fields, however, women continually face barriers that men do not. In this Commentary, the authors offer ideas for coordinating the efforts of organizations, academic institutions, and leaders throughout the scientific and medical professions to reduce barriers that result in inequities and, instead, strive for gender parity. Specific areas of focus outlined by the authors include facilitating women’s access to formal and informal professional networks, acknowledging and addressing the gender pay gap as well as the lack of research funding awarded to women in the field, and updating workplace policies that have not evolved to accommodate women’s lifestyles. As academic institutions seek access to top talent and the means to develop those individuals capable of generating the change medicine and science needs, the authors urge leaders and change agents within academic medicine to address the systemic barriers to gender equity that impede us from achieving the mission to improve the health of all.

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