Despite increased global effort in promoting gender equity in medicine, progress remains slow, particularly with respect to clinical research and leadership roles. Our study assesses trends in female Principal Investigators (PI) amongst academic Cancer Clinical Trials Groups in Australia.
The publicly accessible areas of 14 Australian cancer clinical trial group websites were reviewed for trial details, including year of registration, details of PI, and the presence of any gender policies or statements. Data was collected on xxx date. Data was available for: the Australasian Gastrointestinal Trials Group (AGITG), Thoracic Oncology Group Australia (TOGA), Breast Cancer Trials (BCT), Australia and New Zealand Gynaecological Oncology Group (ANZGOG), Australia and New Zealand Urogenital and Prostate Cancer Trials Group (ANZUP), Melanoma And Skin Cancer Trials (MASC), Cooperative Trials Group for Neuro-Oncology (COGNO), The Trans Tasman Radiation Oncology Group (TROG), Australia and New Zealand Sarcoma Association (ANZSA), Palliative Care Clinical Studies Collaborative (PaCCSC), Cancer Research in Primary Care (PC4). Three groups did not post PI details: The Psycho-Oncology Co-operative Research Group (PoCoG), The Australian and New Zealand Children’s Haematology-Oncology Group (ANZCHOG), The Australasian Leukaemia and Lymphoma Group (ALLG).
Eleven trial groups reported 355 studies, registered between 1994 and 2022. There were 410 trial PIs, of which 152 (37%) were female. There were no female PIs in any group prior to 2003. Despite a rise of female PIs after this time with an average of 0.5 PI per 10-years, women remain under-represented. For trials with a sole PI (n=276), 110 were led by women (39%). For trials with multiple PIs (n=58), 25 included women (43%). Despite having the lowest female PI presence, ANZUP was the only trial group with a gender equity statement.
Despite a slow steady rise of female PI between 1994 and 2022, women have not achieved equity as PI within Australian cancer clinical trials groups. Most groups do not have a publicly available gender policy. Groups without information about PI gender should be encouraged to make this publicly available.
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Has not received any funding.
All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.