Sunday 8 March marked this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD), an annual, global event to celebrate the achievements of women and to call for changes to bring about gender parity. This year’s theme is #EachforEqual and draws on the concept of ‘collective individualism’: while we are all responsible for our own actions, we have the ability to make a substantial impact on society by working together as part of a larger group.
‘Celebrate women’s achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality.’
Following hot on the heels of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science last month, these events highlight that there is some way to go to achieve gender equality within science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM). In fact:
- Fewer than 30% of research positions are held by women.
- Women publish at a lower rate than men.
- Women are less frequently suggested as peer reviewers by both authors and editors.
- Disproportionately few women hold the highly-regarded first or last positions in authorship lists.
- In academia, the number of women leading top universities has increased for the first time since 2017; however, 81% of these institutions continue to be led by men.
Despite the ongoing challenges, many positive insights have been shared by medical publications professionals to mark this year’s event. For example:
- Wiley published a series of inspirational interviews with successful women in research.
- The Future Science Group encouraged discussions on equality in science with a panel of scientists via a Twitter chat (#TalkIWD20).
- In a BMJ Opinion article, Prof Ramani Moonesinghe and colleagues describe two equal opportunity initiatives that they have been involved in within the field of anaesthesia and suggest five steps to help address inequality.
- Dr Carina Dowson et al discussed the culmination of a project celebrating 100 women in healthcare leadership in another BMJ Opinion piece.