Most cardiologists in the United States are men, and many female cardiologists report discrimination in the workplace, a new survey finds.
“We need to increase the diversity of our workforce, and find ways to recruit higher numbers of women and underrepresented minorities,” said survey senior author Dr. Claire Duvernoy, chair of the Women in Cardiology Council at the American College of Cardiology (ACC). The council conducted the survey.
“We must work to change the culture that allows this to occur in our field,” Duvernoy added.
The poll included more than 1,300 male and almost 1,000 female cardiologists. The findings revealed that the percentage of women reporting workplace discrimination fell from 71 percent to 65 percent in the past 20 years, but that rate is still three times higher than it is among men.
Women were more likely to report discrimination related to gender and parenting, while men were more likely to report racial and religious discrimination, the investigators found.
Women are still much less likely to choose cardiology than other medical specialties. In 2013, women accounted for 13 percent of cardiologists, compared with more than 35 percent of internists, more than 30 percent of hematologists/oncologists, 18 percent of general surgeons and more than 50 percent of obstetricians/gynecologists.
The survey also found a significant increase in the number of cardiologists older than 60 compared with a decade or two ago. Also, the proportion of cardiologists in private practice fell from 73 percent in 1996 to 23 percent.
The findings were published Dec. 21 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
On one good note, the survey did find that cardiologists are very satisfied with their work lives, with 88 percent of women and 90 percent of men saying they were moderately to very satisfied with their chosen profession.
“While we are heartened by the finding that the vast majority of cardiologists, both men and women, report high levels of career satisfaction, it is clear that much remains to be done to improve the field for everyone,” Duvernoy said in an ACC news release.
The American College of Cardiology has more about cardiologists.