Co-convenors of WIN, L Modra, S Yong and D Austin, have had a recent publication in ICU management & Practice addressing women in leadership roles within intensive care medicine. They highlight the significant gender imbalance in positions of leadership in intensive care medicine and propose ways in which the gender imbalance could be tackled.
Their article demonstrates that although a significant proportion of women make up Australian medical graduates, women remain under-represented in intensive care medicine. They also present data on female representation on the boards of intensive care societies, which remains outstandingly low given today’s view of work equality.
The article addresses a number of reasons behind why this under-representation may exist - gender bias, bullying, sexual harassment and parental leave were all listed as potential contributors. Importantly, the authors also set out to explain why it matters in today’s workforce. It is not only about striving towards a better speciality for the future, giving better patient outcomes and improving working conditions for intensivists and trainees alike. More simply, it’s about fairness.
The solutions explored include addressing the gender bias, providing structural change, encouraging mentorships and advocacy initiatives to promote and encourage women to apply for leadership positions as they progress through their careers.
We all know that intensive care medicine is a rewarding job. We should be clear that improving workforce equality can improve the specialty for patients and clinicians alike.