Women in Cardiology
Introspection Into the Under-Representation
Lean In,1 the book by Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, has sparked a debate on the issue of women in the workplace that has spread like wildfire throughout the country. In the book, she highlights the large discrepancy between the number of men and women in positions of power and leadership. She suggests that in addition to external barriers, internal barriers, such as lack of self-confidence and anticipation of future family obligations, are hindering women from being successful. Through this book, she is petitioning for women to close the gender gap by leaning in to their careers, sitting at the main table, and being part of the discussion to promote change. Although her experiences and thoughts are predominantly about the business sector, the discussion is applicable to every field, including our own. Her book should prompt introspection to understand why even in the 21st century there is such an under-representation of women in cardiology, particularly within leadership positions, and what can be done to change this.
According to the American College of Cardiology (ACC) Survey: Addressing the Cardiology Workforce Crisis, which was published in 2009, women comprise a small fraction of all cardiologists (Figure 1).2 Only ≈12% of general cardiologists and <10% of interventionalists and electrophysiologists are women,2 even though women make up 50% of most medical school classes. What is more surprising is that the ACC membership profile data as of June 2012, >5 years later, suggests that only 10% of Full Physician Members from the United States are women. The data are more promising for fellows-in-training because women currently make up 22% of all ACC fellows-in-training members from the United States and 27% internationally (ACC membership profile data, unpublished data, 2013). However, this proportion is still strikingly low, especially considering that 30% …