plains why nurses work full-time shifts composed of three 12-
hour days, which is very family friendly. That being said, there
are male physicians who value flexibility and find themselves
more involved in childcare when both members of a couple
work (not an unusual situation in medicine).
I have been fortunate that the leadership in my department
values flexibility and work-family balance; therefore, I am able
to work from home on my academic days or schedule my meetings and commitments on academic days when they will have
little impact on my role as a mother. Thus, when I am present
at work and meetings, I feel 100% there. This has given me
great job satisfaction and, as a result, I have been academically productive.
A reasonable work-life balance has also increased my clinical productivity as I am more likely to work through the day
without interruptions. Academic radiologists are fortunate to
have residents and fellows to help with the work, which helps
facilitate a mother’s or a father’s schedule. The medical school
at my institution also sponsors a Faculty Scholar Award, the
goal of which is to assist faculty during a finite period of increased family care responsibilities by providing professional
assistance to continue research or scholarly efforts while family obligations are addressed. The funds from the award may be
used to support personnel, services, supplies, or “buy out” of
clinical time to provide opportunity for academic or scholarly
work. Programs like this can help female academic radiologists
avoid falling behind and not feeling pressured to stop working
during times of family stress.
Research has shown that there is a bias toward women working in academic medicine [ 3]. I have occasionally experienced
this, generally in the form of being excluded from important
decisions or conversations. Sometimes this is because most of
my work is done off the main site where the majority of these
decisions occur. This is very important, as many women, like
myself, specialize in breast imaging in outpatient facilities. In
addition, most meetings where important decisions are made
occur after regular hours, thus making it difficult for women to
attend. If these meetings were held during business hours or if
teleconferencing were made available, female radiologists
could be included.
Bias toward women working in academic medicine goes back
to us having more household and family responsibilities outside
of work. These duties make it harder for women to work in academia outside of regular business hours. Adequate and equitable academic time may be a solution to the problem of women
being underrepresented in academia and leadership roles.
Women are also more likely to work part time, which helps them
obtain the flexibility but decreases their earning potential.
eaking the Glass Ceiling
Mentorship for female academic radiologists is also key.
Historically, junior female radiologists have gravitated toward
senior female radiologists to work with as mentors. This may
be because fellow female senior faculty understand their colleagues’ home commitments and work around their schedules.
But again, with few female radiologists in senior roles, it is not
always possible to find the right mentor. If there are not enough
female senior faculty mentors available, group meetings for female faculty development would be an option. Male senior faculty, who are sensitive to the needs of female faculty, can also
serve as mentors for junior female faculty—I have been fortunate enough to be in this situation.
So, why do we need more women in radiology? Studies have
shown that diversity helps foster environments with more creativity, productivity, and innovation [ 4]. Lack of female radiology researchers could potentially result in less new research
and fewer innovations in women’s imaging as men are less interested in this specialty [ 4].n
1. Association of American Medical Colleges website. U. S. medical school
faculty, 2014. www.aamc.org/data/facultyroster/reports/420598/
usmsf14.html. Published 2014. Accessed January 19, 2017
2. Modern parenthood roles of moms and dads converge as they balance work
and family. Pew Research Center website. http://www.pewsocialtrends.
as-they-balance-work-and-family/. Published March 14, 2013. Accessed
January 19, 2017
3. Carr PL, Ash AS, Friedman RH, et al. Faculty perceptions of gender discrimination and sexual harassment in academic medicine. Ann Intern
Med 2000; 132:889
4. Forman HP, Larson DB, Kaye AD, et al. Masters of radiology panel discussion: women in radiology—how can we encourage more women to join
the field and become leaders. AJR 2012; 198:145–149
Bias toward women working in academic medicine goes back to us having more household and
family responsibilities outside of work. These duties make it harder for women to work in academia
outside of regular business hours.
In summary, these are my recommendations:
1. Allow female and male radiologists to work from home
during clinical days and spend academic days at home
2. Design schedules that permit all radiologists to deal with
3. Use electronic conferencing so that all radiologists in a
division or department can participate.
4. Provide time for senior female and male faculty to
mentor younger faculty.
My department has already set all of these recommendations
into practice and the majority of the female faculty are very
satisfied with their jobs.