As the blog editor and a writer for the Women in Intensive Care Network, I have the pleasure of writing a post about my own research into gender representation within the ANZICS CTG studies.
My study found that women are hugely under-represented in all ANZICS CTG-endorsed study management committees and their subsequent publications, since the studies began in 1996. The study will be published in due course- but for now I’d like to reflect on the feedback I have received since giving this presentation.
The conversations generated by this research presentation have only been positive. Importantly, the acknowledgement and support I have received from our male counterparts has been excellent. There are a large number of men in intensive care who are advocates for change and this is hugely important in order to help shift this gender bias and encourage women into research. Many comments I received from the female delegates at the meeting were along the lines of "you've just presented what we're all thinking" and "thank-you for speaking about such an important issue". Many delegates at this meeting are research coordinators- a role in which women are over-represented. Research coordinators are absolutely crucial to undertaking high-quality clinical trials, yet the extent of their contribution isn’t often acknowledged. You rarely see them on the final papers that are published. Involving the research coordinators in publications will help shift the gender bias but it doesn't address the issue of intensive care female clinicians getting involved in research.
The reasons why women are so poorly represented in intensive care medicine research are multi-faceted. There is work to be done to decipher these reasons and set about changing them, but the facts spoke clearly for themselves at the end of my study. In 2017, when the world is at odds for so many others reasons, it is disappointing that we are still having to highlight and advocate change for these gender discrepancies.. As a collective body of intensivists and trainees we need to be the group to lead this change so that others can follow.