The following article is part of conference coverage from the 2022 American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Annual Meeting. Neurology Advisor’s staff will be reporting breaking news associated with research conducted by leading experts in neurology. Check back for the latest news from the 2022 AAN Annual Meeting.
Gender-based disparities among US-based female researchers in neurology were prevalent in several domains of academic neurology, according to a survey by the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) presented at the 2022 AAN Annual Meeting, held from April 2 to April 7 in Seattle, Washington, and virtually from April 24-26, 2022.
Gender disparities in other fields are present in academic physician women. Prior research has found less representation in publishing rates and clinical trial leadership positions compared with men. Furthermore, women physicians have also been worse affected by COVID. However, in neurology research, the role these inequalities play is not clear.
The objective of the study was to assess self-reported gender disparities experienced by US-based AAN members doing research in neurology.
A total of 4644 US-based AAN members who identified as researchers completed a 34-question survey focused on research and funding, scholarly activities, the impact of COVID-19, and the local institutional climate. A total of 15% of respondents (women, n=231; men, n=426) completed the survey with 71% identifying as White and more than 80% actively conducting research in 2020. Men respondents were older in age compared with women respondents.
Compared with men, women were more likely to be assistant professors (32% vs 21%). Grants/research support was equivalent among women and formal research training and mentorship opportunities were comparable to men.
Women were less represented in middle author publications (mean 5.8 [SD 9.2] vs mean 8.2 [SD 11.8], P =.03) compared with men. At grand rounds or at a national/international conference, less women presented research in comparison to men (58% vs 69%, P= .01).
The survey noted women respondents reported more less work/life balance satisfaction and disagreed with statements related to equity/diversity and institutional climate. They also reported spending a greater deal of time performing nonprofessional responsibilities compared with men respondents. COVID appeared to affect research activities and delay the submission of manuscripts unrelated to COVID among women researchers, according to the survey.
Overall, the survey revealed gender-based disparities in academic neurology across several domains.
“This paper highlights areas of research and opportunities for interventions to improve and reduce gender disparities among neurology researchers,” the researchers concluded.
Hall D, Cahill C, Meyer AC, et al. Gender Disparities in Neurology Research. Presented at: the 2022 AAN Annual Meeting; April 2-7, 2022; Seattle, Washington; April 24-26, 2022; Virtual Meeting. Abstract S34.002.