Introduction Women are under-represented in cardiology in the UK (28% of cardiology trainees and 13% of cardiology consultants are female despite women accounting for >50% of medical students). Lack of female role models is one of the commonly cited reasons for the lack of women within the field. Fair representation of female speakers at national cardiology conferences is therefore important to increase the visibility of women within cardiology. We assessed the extent of female representation at UK national cardiology conferences over the last 4 years.
Methods We requested the past programmes for annual conferences from 8 national cardiology societies in the UK. The programmes were reviewed and for each chair, panellist, operator and speaker, a binary definition of gender was assigned (female or male). In cases where gender was unclear from the name, the General Medical Council (GMC) register was referred to. For those not on the GMC register, we searched for the individual online. In any remaining cases of ambiguity, we selected the gender most commonly associated with that name. Speakers presenting abstracts were excluded.
Results Programmes were obtained from 7 societies (British Cardiovascular Society (BCS), British Cardiovascular Intervention Society (BCIS), British Heart Rhythm Society (BHRS), British and Irish Hypertension Society (BIHS), British Society of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (BSCMR), British Society of Echocardiography (BSE), and British Society for Heart Failure (BSH). A total of 25 annual conferences were analysed. There were a total of 3959 slots; 982 of these were female (25%). Of the 951 chair slots, 224 (24%) were female. There were 3007 speaker/panellist slots, of which 760 (25%) were female. See table 1 below for details.
Conclusion There is significant variation in the proportion of female speakers between societies (11-45%). Specialties with the lowest numbers of female consultants had the lowest female representation, however BCS which represents all sub-specialties also had poor female speaker representation. No clear improvement in female numbers occurred from 2017-2020. As part of a drive to facilitate gender equality within cardiology, conference committees need to ensure that speaker panels are gender balanced to enhance visibility of women within the specialty.
Conflict of Interest None
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