Background and Aims Women face gender-based challenges in both their medical education and careers¹. We explored how regional anaesthetic (RA) career experiences were affected by gender and evaluated international differences.
Methods We designed a survey open to healthcare professionals with an RA interest. This was disseminated via social media.
Results We received 96 responses (58:38 female:male split) across 15 countries. (See table 1). 32.8% of women, and 2.6% of men reported being treated unfairly at work due to gender. Regarding RA, half of women’s free text answers (8/16) cited being overlooked for opportunities in favour of male counterparts. Male responses cited mostly positive or neutral experiences in RA. Seven explicitly acknowledged perceiving female disadvantage and four explicitly stated there were no gender differences. Both genders reported bullying and harassment from surgeons. Women additionally cited RA trainers as perpetrators and reported incidents of sexual harassment. Similar numbers (76%:79% female:male) reported having caring responsibilities but women were more than 2.5x more likely to say it affected their RA career.
Conclusions Women have different experiences in their RA careers compared to men. Our high female response rate reflects data collection via social media #ThisGirlBlocks campaign. Common RA career barriers faced by women were lack of time and missed opportunities – due to caring commitments, maternity leave and being less than full time (LTFT). Men cited childcare and LTFT as obstacles, but less frequently. To achieve equity, our community must acknowledge gender imbalances and institute systemic change. There is global under-representation of women². From our study, it’s easy to see why.
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