Academic field in oncology is male dominated in India as it is in the rest of the world. There is a dearth of female oncologists in managerial or leadership posts in oncology. Female oncologists face unique challenges in this field. Female authorship as first or corresponding author is a surrogate marker for the representation of females in the academic world. This study was undertaken to determine the extent of female participation/leadership in oncology in India.
An online survey was conducted across the women in the field of oncology in India. Also, the issues of Indian Journal of Cancer and Indian Journal of Medical and Paediatric Oncology from January 2017 to December 2018 were examined. The articles with female first or corresponding authors were enumerated.
Of the 153 participants in the survey, 56% were above 40 years of age. 53% of them were clinical oncologists. 65% of the females worked in male majority teams and 67% admitted to working with male managers. Only 31% of the respondents covered a leadership role within their jobs. Family commitments, perception of males as the natural leaders and maintaining a work family balance were quoted to be the most frequent obstacles to career progression. A total of 558 journal publications were inspected. Of these, 145 articles (26%) had a female first author or a corresponding author, of which 94 (64.9%) were original articles. Each issue had a median of 30 publications, of which median of 8 publications (range 3-15) were authored by females. Of the 360 original articles perused, only 94 (26.1%) had female authorship.
This study was undertaken to analyse the participation of females in oncology and allied sciences in India. Only 1/3 of the females were in a leadership position of the 153 survey participants. Majority of the females work in male-dominated work environments and tackle multitude of impediments in advancement in their profession. Objectively, only 26% of the publications in two of the leading oncology journals of India were authored by females. Female first/corresponding authors were found only in 26% of the original articles. More efforts are to be taken for women empowerment and increase the representation of females in this field. More flexible work/training schedules are required for their upliftment.
Clinical trial identification
Legal entity responsible for the study
Has not received any funding.
All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.