Women in radiology: why is the pipeline still leaking and how can we plug it?

Acta Radiol. 2020 Jun;61(6):743-748. doi: 10.1177/0284185119881723. Epub 2019 Oct 24.


Today, >50% of medical students are women. This proportion, however, dramatically decreases throughout the higher levels of academia, a phenomenon described as the "leaky pipeline." This gender disparity is particularly pronounced in academic radiology, mirrored by a significant lack of women in editorial board positions, key authorship positions, and conference keynote lectures. The scientific invisibility is not only a key hurdle facing women in radiology, the lack of female role models and mentors in this context might also negatively affect career choices of young female radiologists thereby further widen the existing gender gap. In this article, the origins of the "leaky pipeline," the reasons for women's choice or rejection of careers in academic medicine, as well as solutions as to how the continued loss of a large part of the talent pool can be prevented, are discussed. Active monitoring and intervention are needed to identify problems, plan targeted actions, and evaluate their efficacy. Among those are measures that address a lack of support in the workplace, specific mentoring needs of women, flexible working hours and opportunities to align work and family, financial constraints, and support for returners after career breaks. Cooperative steps of politics and universities need to be taken that ensure a sustainable way forward to enable many talented women in radiology to achieve their full potential.

Keywords: Women; academic position; education; leadership; radiology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Career Choice*
  • Female
  • Health Workforce / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Leadership
  • Radiologists / statistics & numerical data*
  • Radiology / statistics & numerical data*
  • Women*