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Journal of Neurosurgical Sciences 2019 Nov 13

DOI: 10.23736/S0390-5616.19.04814-8

Copyright © 2019 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Sexual discrimination in neurosurgery: a questionnaire-based nationwide study amongst women neurosurgeons in Bulgaria

Yavor ENCHEV 1 , Zarina BRADY 2, Shahswar ARIF 2, Elitsa ENCHEVA 2, Nikolay PEEV 3, Manal AHMAD 3

1 Department of Neurosurgery, Medical University of Varna, University Hospital “St. Marina”, Varna, Bulgaria; 2 Medical University of Varna, Varna, Bulgaria; 3 Department of Neurosurgery, Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom



BACKGROUND: The aim of this qualitative, descriptive, cross-sectional study was to identify potential factors influencing the progression of female neurosurgeons in Bulgaria.
METHODS: The study was conducted nationally, by sending out an online (SurveyMonkey®) questionnaire with 30 questions over a 3-month period to 15 registered female neurosurgeons in practice including residents/trainees and specialists from state universities, private universities and regional hospitals in Bulgaria. The questionnaire covered basic demographics, level of academic achievement and aspects of personal and professional experience, along with questions on the perceived barriers that female neurosurgeons nationally encountered during their clinical and academic career. These results were compared with similar studies conducted in other countries following a literature search on PUBMED.
RESULTS: Eleven out of fifteen respondents returned the completed survey, covering 10 institutions which included 8 university clinics and 2 regional clinics, achieving a response rate of 73.3%. No questionnaires were excluded. The factors negatively influencing the clinical and academic professional development and progression in the field included lack of mentors and other female role models, perceived bias regarding remuneration and leave, as well as a lack of support with regards to work-life balance and difficulty progressing in the academic fields.
CONCLUSIONS: Although there is an ever increasing and growing awareness of the factors negatively impacting women progression in neurosurgery worldwide, there are still significant gaps and biases that hinder career progression amongst female neurosurgical communities and highlight a need for potential practices to be established in the workplace to counteract this.


KEY WORDS: Barriers to clinical and academic career development of women neurosurgeons; Gender inequality in neurosurgery; Leadership in neurosurgery; Role models in neurosurgery; Women neurosurgeons

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