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The paper by Shareen Jaijee and colleagues1 in this edition of Heart puts figures onto what many cardiologists will recognise as an everyday reality of our specialty. It makes unwelcome but not unexpected reading. In the last 15 years, progress with regards to gender representation in UK cardiology practice2 and leadership appears to have stood still or at best run at a pedestrian pace. Female cardiologists are still in a minority, particularly in interventional specialities, in academic cardiology and as leaders and are substantially more likely to have been on the receiving end of inappropriate behaviour from professional colleagues. Disturbingly, a third of female cardiologists reported sexual harassment.1 UK women training in cardiology also report3 experiencing sexism particularly in the latter years of training (15%) when studying in tertiary centres where more interventional cardiology and research training is located and are more likely to change their preferred subspecialty choice away from intervention and electrophysiology.3 Non-cardiology trainee respondents to a survey mentioned witnessing and experiencing bullying and sexism by cardiologists and cardiology trainees as a reason not to choose a career in cardiology, with sexism more often reported by women.4 Negative attitudes and behaviours in UK cardiology therefore affect people at every stage and will likely need multiple actions to stamp out.
One positive finding in this paper1 is that the great majority of cardiologists, both male and female, feel positive about their choice of specialty despite the obstacles and negative factors reported. This …
Contributors Both authors contributed equally to the writing of this manuscript.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.
- Healthcare delivery, economics and global health