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Problem of sexism in cardiology

Results of a study, released at the recent 72nd Irish Cardiac Society (ICS) Annual Scientific Meeting and AGM, suggest a significant degree of sexism and bullying in Irish cardiology. The study, titled ‘Perceptions of equality, flexible working and mentorship amongst Irish cardiology trainees and consultants’, was presented at the meeting by Dr Bethany Wong, Cardiology SpR, during her talk on behalf of the ‘women in cardiology subgroup’.

Dr Wong and her colleagues distributed a survey to all ICS trainees and consultants in both the North and Republic of Ireland. Almost 80 percent of female respondents said they had experienced sexism during their training.“This is much higher than the UK survey that was published earlier this year, which reported 48 per cent,” said Dr Wong.

When asked if they felt they had missed out on professional opportunities due to their sex, 84 per cent responded ‘No’.“But of the 16 per cent who said ‘Yes’, there was a statistically significant difference between females and males, with more women missing professional opportunities than their male counterparts,” she told the conference.

Also, Dr Wong said the results showed how women had higher childcare responsibilities, which had an impact on their careers. “There is a high workload in cardiology,” she told the meeting. “This can sometimes make it difficult to manage childcare responsibilities, and one potential solution is working less than fulltime… an equal amount of males and females said they would like to go less than full-time training, with the main reason being
family and work-life balance.”

However, 63.83 per cent of respondents said they did not think their department would be supportive of them working less than full-time, while 20.21 per cent said they would be supported, and 15.96 per cent were ‘unsure’. More than 48 per cent of respondents said they had experienced bullying during their training or career, with no difference between males and females.

There were 94 respondents, comprising almost one-third of all ICS trainees and consultants, over a two-week period. Fifty per cent females and 50 per cent males responded to the survey, which was supported by the
ICS. See P32-36 for full conference coverage.

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