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Review Article   

Journal of Neurosurgical Sciences 2022 Jun 28

DOI: 10.23736/S0390-5616.22.05766-6


language: English

Women in neurosurgery: review of the literature combined with a gender-based analysis of the development over the past 20 years in Austria

Veronika SPERL 1, Barbara KIESEL 1 , Marlies BAUER 2, Lisa I. WADIURA 1

1 Department of Neurosurgery, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria; 2 Department of Neurosurgery, Medical University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria


BACKGROUND: The number of female neurosurgeons has grown over the last decades, however, a gender gap still exists in most western countries. The reasons for this gender gap remain mostly unclear. The aim of the present study was to analyze the development of the numbers of female neurosurgeons in Austria over the last 20 years in comparison to other surgical disciplines. Additionally, a literature review was performed summarizing articles reporting on women in neurosurgery.
METHODS: Data including male and female residents as well as board certified surgeons over the last 20 years retrieved from the Austrian Medical Association were collected. An additional PubMed query was performed focusing on literature reporting on working conditions, work-life-balance as well as data of female leading positions.
RESULTS: In 2021, 5237 surgeons were registered at the Austrian Medical Association including 258 (5%) neurosurgeons. In total, 1081 of 5237 (21%) surgeons and 61 of 253 (24%) of all Austrian neurosurgeons were female. In comparison to the percentage of women in all surgical disciplines, the number of female neurosurgeons is represented slightly above the average of 21%. According to data representing the trend of the last 20 years, the percentage of female neurosurgeons in Austria has doubled over the last 20 years. Comparably, this trend can be observed in all surgical disciplines.
CONCLUSIONS: The percentage of female neurosurgeons in Austria are constantly increasing over the last 20 years, however a gender gap still exists. Consequently, studies are warranted to analyse the causes to improve the reported gender gap in Neurosurgery.

KEY WORDS: Neurosurgery in Austria; Women in neurosurgery; Female neurosurgery; Role model

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